Belgium vs Denmark
Belgium and Denmark meet in a battle for first place in UEFA Nations League Group A2 on Wednesday night and it promises to be a fascinating clash.
The star-studded Belgians would normally be on the front foot, against any opposition and particularly at home, but they only need a draw to win the group and head to the finals, whereas Denmark, two points behind, need a victory. The Red Devils return to Brussels on the back of a comfortable 2-0 win over England so they hold their destiny in their own hands, while a last gasp winner for Denmark over Iceland kept them in the hunt.
Belgium’s all stars can go all the way
The Red Devils are in the leading group of potential winners, with the latest UEFA Nations League 2020 betting odds pitching them alongside France after they beat Gareth Southgate’s England in convincing fashion. Leicester’s Youri Tielemans scored Belgium’s opener before Dries Mertens added a second with a well struck free-kick. That was the Napoli striker’s third goal of the tournament and he will fancy adding to his tally on Wednesday.
Centre forward Romelu Lukaku did some good work alongside his defence, clearing a Harry Kane effort off the line, but he too will hope to do some damage to the Danes’ own defence. The visitors will have a long night unless they can somehow keep Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne quiet. One of the most prolific assist makers in world football, De Bruyne can unpick a packed defence with a killer pass, as well as launching and finishing lightning attacks.
Denmark sweating on Schmeichel’s fitness
The Danes were brimming with confidence when they met Iceland on Sunday on the back of their own victory over England last month; so, having beaten the Iceman they are second in the group on merit. But they made hard work of it. Christian Eriksen scored an early penalty to put the Danes in charge and, after Iceland scored a late equaliser, he converted another spot-kick in the second minute of injury time to keep Denmark’s hopes of winning the tournament alive. That made it four goals in the campaign for the Inter Milan star, but a collision at the other end of the pitch has Denmark fans worried.
After a coming together with Albert Gudmundsson, goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel was substituted at half time. The AZ Alkmaar winger’s thigh connected with Schmeichel’s head and that led head coach Kasper Hjulmand to take no risks and replace the Leicester City star.
His club wants to know that he’ll be fit to face Liverpool next weekend so they too are watching anxiously, and Hjulmand may opt to be cautious in his selection. With or without Schmeichel it would be major UEFA Nations League 2020 news if the Danes could somehow pull it off in Leuven as Hjulmand says: “It’s a very big achievement to be able to have a final on the last day of a League A group. To have ten points and be going to Belgium for a final – that says a lot about the quality of this group of players and the potential we have in Danish football.”
He’s right; there is quality running through the Denmark team with Milan’s Simon Kjaer marshaling the defence, alongside Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen, and up front Barcelona’s Martin Braithwaite is a lively customer, though Eriksen remains the most likely player to hurt the Belgians.
The two teams have met six times in the last half century and have won three each, and there’s a nice symmetry to the sequence. Belgium triumphed 2-0 when they met Denmark in a 1970 European qualifier, and by the same score-line when they met in Copenhagen two months ago. Strikes from Jason Denayer and Mertens gave them a perfect start to this campaign.
Both teams arrive in Brussels in fine form, Denmark are unbeaten in six, while Belgium are unbeaten in 24 at home and are on a three-match winning streak.
|Belgium vs Denmark||Belgium Asian Handicap -0.75 @ 1.86|
|November 19, 03:45 (GMT+8)|
The SBOTOP odds back a Red Devils win, at odds of 1.61, with the draw at 3.55 and Denmark at 5.60, and I’m inclined to agree.
Hjulmand’s men have nothing to lose and everything to gain, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them come out on the attack. They have some gifted players but Belgium has some stratospheric stars and that’s what makes the Red Devils the best team in the world.
The hosts had a rare defeat away to England in October, a game they had the better of in terms of possession and shots, and I don’t expect them to slip up again on Wednesday.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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