2020-21 UEFA Nations League: England vs Belgium

England face a tough test of their UEFA Nations League dreams as they take on Belgium at Wembley Stadium in Group A2. 

Victory would see England move above Belgium into top position in Group A2 but defeat would see the Belgium move five points clear of their hosts and a step closer towards qualifying for the Finals next autumn.

 

Team News

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Gareth Southgate will ring the changes in his England squad with Harry Kane, Jordan Henderson and Jordan Pickford amongst those all hoping for recalls, whilst likes of Nick Pope, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Kalvin Phillips look to retain their starting spots.

Tammy Abraham and Jadon Sancho meanwhile are back in the squad and available for selection, after missing Thursday’s win over Wales through internal suspension for breaching Coronavirus protocols last weekend.

Ben Chilwell who was also suspended is now absent through illness but is expected to be available for Wednesday’s clash against Denmark.

Belgium will be without Hendrik Van Crombrugge for personal reasons and he has been replaced by Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper, Thomas Kaminski.

Sebastian Bornauw, Zinho Vanheusden and Alexis Saelemaekers withdrew from the squad after Thursday’s 1-1 friendly draw against Ivory Coast, whilst Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens due to a muscle injury and self-isolation respectively and didn’t participate in the friendly.

 

Stat Attack

  • England are unbeaten in six previous home matches against Belgium held in the UK (W5, D1), although those clashes all took place as international friendlies.
  • Belgium have scored just four goals in their six previous away trips against England in UK.
  • England have won just one of five competitive clashes against Belgium in all competitions (W1, D2, L2).
  • Belgium’s Michy Batshuayi has scored three goals in his last two appearances for the Belgian Red Devils.
  • Jordan Henderson is the only surviving player from the England squad that last hosted Belgium at Wembley in June 2012 who still features in the current squad, whereas Belgium boasts five players from that meeting who are still in their squad (Simon Mignolet, Jan Vertonghen, Axel Witsel, Christian Benteke and Romelu Lukaku).

 

Prediction

Despite delivering a strong win over Wales on Thursday, England did make sluggish starts in both halves before eventually getting going with three clinical strikes but they’ve to step up now, otherwise Belgium could look to cause them serious issues if can get on the front foot first and control this match.

England’s home soil however is one of Belgium’s bogey countries though and after also producing a scrappy friendly performance against Ivory Coast, the Belgian Red Devils also have work to do, particularly in the finishing aspect which was rather sloppy unlike England.

This therefore is going to be a tough encounter for both teams let alone the fact that many players from both teams know one another well from club level, which indicates just how close this encounter could be although I am going for a score draw given the quality of both teams.

Prediction: England 1-1 Belgium

Result: England 2-1 Belgium

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