Scotland vs Belgium

September 5, 2013
By: Nemanja Lazarevic

Buoyed by the outstanding victory in Croatia, Scotland aim to upset another top European side in spite of the fact they are without chances to reach the tournament finals. Their opponents, on the other hand, sit three points clear at the top, meaning a victory at Hampden Park would see them make a giant step towards Brazil.

Scotland improving under Strachan

It’s been 15 years now since Scotland last played at a major competition and it is already clear they will not be taking part at the forthcoming World Cup. Nevertheless, the team have been showing signs of improvement under Gordon Strachan and they are hoping to further raise their profile before an assault on Euro 2016 places. Following back to back defeats to Wales and Serbia at the start of his reign, Strachan masterminded a glorious victory over Croatia, but one good result and the fact their opponents had a bad day is not enough to suggest Scotland have what it takes to match Europe’s top sides. With Belgium also looking much more convincing than their previous opponents, Gordon Strachan’s men will have to produce a massive effort if they are to continue the promising run of results. Scotland player can also take heart from what was a decent performance in a 3-2 friendly defeat to England, although they did allow their bitter rivals to come from a goal behind and record a victory. This time out, the hosts will be missing a number of key men, and that is unlikely to aid their chances of upsetting red-hot Belgium.

First choice keeper Allan McGregor is suspended, whereas James Morrison, Graham Dorrans and George Boyd miss out through injury.

Belgium on fire

One of the most talented generations in the history of Belgian football has finally started living up to the billing, with the Red Devils closing in on their place at the 2014 World Cup. Despite being drawn in a pretty evenly matched group with sides like Croatia, Serbia, Scotland, Wales and FYR Macedonia, Marc Wilmots’ side have been thoroughly impressive so far, winning six of seven games and only sharing spoils with Croatia at home. That is hardly surprising when we know that the squad mostly consist of Premier League stars such as Marouane Fellaini, Eden Hazard, Moussa Dembele, Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen, with Marc Wilmots spoilt for choices in all areas of the pitch. Belgium go into this game on the back of five straight qualifying triumphs, so no doubt they are hot favourites here. Given that key players already appear to have reached their top form, the Red Devils should be able to continue their amazing run against severely weakened Scotland, a team they easily beat in the reverse fixture at home. It is highly unlikely the visitors will miss such a good opportunity to virtually secure the first place in the standings.

Important defenders Thomas Vermaelen and Vincent Kompany miss out through injury, but Jan Vertonghen is back to the side.


Scotland may have defeated Croatia away, but that was clearly a one-off result and we cannot expect Gordon Strachan’s men to repeat such a performance, especially with McGregor and Morrison missing. Meanwhile, Belgium have been absolutely amazing in their latest fixtures and I have no doubts they will see off Scotland as well.

Top pick: Away win   1.75 (3/4) @ William Hill

Alternative pick 1: Belgium to score two or more   2.00 (1/1) @ Coral

Alternative pick 2: Over 2.5 goals   2.25 (5/4) @ BetVictor

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