UEFA Nations League: Iceland vs Belgium preview


World Cup bronze medalists Belgium kick off their UEFA Nations League campaign with a tricky match on Tuesday as they travel to meet Iceland at Laugardalsvollur in Reykjavik. The two teams have last met in a friendly match in 2014, which Belgium won 3-1. That was their only meeting after 1980, before that Belgium won all their eight matches against Iceland between 1957 and 1977. However, today's Icelandic team is not even comparable to their past teams, they are a lot stronger and have caused quite a few upsets in recent years.

Iceland have surprised everybody at the 2016 European Championship and then they confirmed their strength by qualifying for the FIFA World Cup in 2018. However, they failed to get past the group stage at the World Cup despite having started with a good 1-1 draw against Argentina, and now they started their UEFA Nations League campaign with a disastrous 6-0 defeat in Switzerland last week. New head coach Erik Hamren will most likely try to bring some changes into his team, but Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Aron Gunnarsson and Alfred Finnbogason are still out of contention so he doesn't have many options.

Belgium have confirmed that they are one of the best teams in the world at the FIFA World Cup this summer, they went all the way to the semi-finals, lost to eventual winners France, and then secured the third place with a victory over England. Last week they played a friendly match against Scotland in Glasgow and they dominated it from start to finish, winning 4-0 with goals from Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and two from Michy Batshuayi. Head coach Roberto Martinez did not put Thomas Meunier, Toby Alderweireld and Axel Witsel in the starting line-up for the friendly, but the trio should be on the pitch against Iceland.

Probable line-ups:

Iceland: Halldorsson - Saevarsson, Arnason, R. Sigurdsson, Magnusson - Gislason, Palsson, Sigurjonsson, Traustason - G. Sigurdsson - Bodvarsson

Belgium: Courtouis - Alderweireld, Kompany, Vertonghen - Meunier, Dembele, Witsel, Chadli - Mertens, Lukaku, Hazard

My prediction: Belgium to win 3-0, Iceland seem to have lost their touch and they are missing three key players.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Iceland win - 11.00
Draw - 5.00
Belgium win - 1.36

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