Belgium and England will both be looking to take a significant step towards the UEFA Nations League finals as they clash in Leuven on Sunday evening.
The two sides, most fancied to qualify from League A Group 2, are separated by two points, with the Red Devils currently leading the group on nine points and sitting at odds of 4/9 to top the standings come the end of the tournament. Meanwhile, the Three Lions have claimed two wins, with a win against Sunday’s opponents being enough to potentially take them to top spot. Gareth Southgate’s troops are at a price of 11/4 to win the group and reach their second consecutive UEFA Nations League finals.
Travelling to Belgium, England have an excellent record against their opponents following their 2-1 success just last month at Wembley Stadium. In 24 meetings between the two nations, the Three Lions have only actually lost four, winning 16 and drawing a further four. As a matter of fact, they have only lost once on Belgian soil and that solitary defeat came way back in 1936.
However, Roberto Martinez’s men are currently on a run of 23 matches without defeat on home soil so will certainly prove to be a formidable opponent. England sit at a price of 2/1 with Paddy Power to win on Sunday, whilst Belgium are more fancied at 13/10. A draw between the two can be backed at 23/10.
One aspect that will give England considerable confidence is their excellent form on the road under Southgate. The Three Lions have not lost in any out of their last four away matches, keeping clean sheets in all of those games. They are available at 13/5 with William Hill to keep their fifth shutout in a row.
Despite that excellent defensive record, England will have to manage without a few key members of their backline. Harry Maguire and Reece James are both suspended following red cards against Denmark last month, whilst Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez are long-term absentees. They are joined by Wolves’ Conor Coady, who is currently observing a period of self-isolation having come into a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Martinez also has his own injury worries ahead of the match. Eden Hazard and Yannick Carrasco are both restricted to the sidelines, whilst versatile full-back Timothy Castagne is also out of contention. One man who could drop also out is Michy Batshuayi. The on-loan Crystal Palace forward scored twice in the recent 2-1 win against Switzerland but will surely be replaced by the country’s record goalscorer Romelu Lukaku.
The Inter Milan forward then is surely one of the favourites to score first at a price of 7/2 with Betfair. He will have considerable competition from Harry Kane though. Despite having not yet scored for his country in 2020, the Tottenham Hotspur striker is at 4/1 to net the opener on Sunday.