Belgium face hosts Russia in Saint Petersburg on Matchday 1 in Group B. As one of 12 host nations, the Russian's will be looking to make the most of home advantage. Check out our full betting preview for the latest team news, match odds and betting predictions.
Belgium 🇧🇪 Team News
Roberto Martinez's side scored a perfect 10 in qualification, a feat only achieved by eight teams when qualifying for the European Championship finals. En route to the finals, they also chalked up the most significant margin of victory in a European Championship qualifier with their 9-0 win over San Marino.
Roberto Martinez, Belgium coach...
"I agree that the first game is often the most difficult in a big tournament. You have to get into the tournament both mentally and physically. It'll be a real test, because we know this team very well, but they also know us by heart and they'll have the support of their fans."
Belgium Predicted Lineup
Courtois; Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Denayer; Meunier, Dendoncker, Tielemans, T Hazard; Mertens, Lukaku, Doku
Key Player: Romelu Lukaku
The key player slot could have gone to a handful of individuals. Belgium is a team blessed with talent. But with the injury to Kevin De Bruyne it only feels right to award key player status to Romelu Lukaku. He's at the top of the market for the Golden Boot award and the Red Devils striker has had a storming season in Serie A where his goal tally of 24 for Inter secured them their first title in 11 years.
Russia 🇷🇺 Team News
Russia has now qualified for the last five consecutive European Championship finals. In qualifying, they found Belgium too strong, but putting The Red Devils to one side, Russia won all eight remaining Group I fixtures. They will take some comfort from the fact they are strong in St Petersburg, and being one of the 12 host nations will give them hope they can progress from the group stage.
Stanislav Cherchesov, Russia coach...
"We already played them in the qualifiers. They're a good team: ambitious, strong, with a great coach and good players. It’s no surprise they've been top of the FIFA rankings over the past few years. Our recent games with Belgium have been open affairs, spectacular football that delights the fans. We understand where we’re at. We are not among the tournament favourites, but that doesn't mean anything."
Russia Predicted Lineup
Shunin; Mário Fernandes, Barinov, Dzhikiya, Semenov, Karavaev; Zobnin, Ozdoev, Golovin; Miranchuk; Dzyuba
Key Player: Artem Dzyuba
Dzyuba is Russia's captain and leading goalscorer. The tall target man plies his trade for Russian champions Zenit Saint Petersburg. He is a no-nonsense striker who will put himself about physically. He scored nine goals, grabbed five assists during qualifying, and was involved in nearly half of Russia's 33 goal tally.
Belgium v Russia Head to Head
Belgium has won exactly 50% of all meetings against Russia, but recent qualifying performances have shown a clear gap in quality. The Red Devils ran out winners in both Group I games, with an aggregate scoreline of 7-2. Their 4-1 victory in St Petersburg will also give them confidence going into this opening group fixture.
Belgium v Russia Match Prediction
The Russian's are on home soil in St Petersburg, but it will be tough to not side with Belgium, especially as they dispatched Russia with such ease in the qualifying stages. There were goals in both fixtures (3-1, 1-4), and there is likely to be the same here.
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