Belgium vs Russia 06/22/2014 Free FIFA World Cup Group H Pick and Preview
Russia vs Belgium
Sunday 22nd June 2014 17:00(GMT)
The Line: Belgium 11/10 Draw 12/5 Russia 14/5 See the Latest Odds
TV: bbc; RTE; ESPN; Fox Sports; UTV
One of the dark horse for the World Cup Belgium were anything but impressive in the first 45 minutes of their opening World Cup encounter as Algeria pressed the game, looked the better team and deservedly held the lead at half time. The second half was better from the Belgians but they were still somewhat uneffective in the final third until the introduction of Manchester United midfielder Maroanne Fellaini who's presence was felt almost immediately as he scored within five minutes of coming on. The problem for Belgium was the Romelu Luakaku was somewhat anonymous for the majority of his time on the pitch. Belgium's approach play was slow and cumbersome and they didnt have the zip required to open up international teams. Expect better from the Belgian's today as they face into a tough task against a disciplined and solid Russia.
Russia opened their World CUp with an entertaining draw with South Korea, the Russians were on the backfoot for much of the game as the South Koreans played a high intensity pressing game that forced the Russians into plenty of turnovers. But when they went behind the Russians reacted well and the introduction of Kerzhakov by Fabio Capello had a similar reactin to the introduction of Fellaini for Belgium. The Russians looked more dangerous almost immediately and Kerzakov eventually found the net. It will be interesting to see how Capello changes his formation or if he does a the three sustitiures Denisov, Dzagoev and Kerzhakov all played well on their introduction and may warrant a start today.
Although Belgium were not all that impressive in their opening game I still think they showed enough to be favourites here, this Russian side is a good hard working side but they seem devoid of any game changing superstars where Belgium have Witsel, Hazard, Lukaku, Mirallas. The strength of the Belgium bench is going to be a key feature if the Belgium team are to go deep and I am going to take Belgium to get the win here. Follow me on twitter@antonpippo