UEFA Nations League: Belgium vs Iceland preview


Iceland are looking to end their UEFA Nations League campaign with some sort of dignity as they visit Group 2 favourites Belgium at King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on Thursday. Belgium won the reverse fixture 3-0 in September, with two goals from Romelu Lukaku and one from Eden Hazard. That was the tenth victory out of ten matches for Belgium against Iceland, and the third consecutive direct match in which they scored three or more goals. The history of the direct encounters between these two nations started in 1957 with a spectacular 8-3 victory for Belgium.

Belgium are in pole position to win UEFA Nations League Group 2, they are tied on six points with Switzerland at the moment but they have a game in hand on the Swiss. If Belgium beat Iceland on Thursday, then they would only need a draw in Switzerland on Sunday. Belgium kicked off their Nations League campaign with the 3-0 victory in Iceland and then they edged past Switzerland in October, the match ended 2-1 thanks to a second-half brace from Romelu Lukaku. The striker has just recovered from a hamstring injury and played in last weekend's Manchester derby, so he will lead the line for Belgium in Thursday's match.

Iceland had a terrible UEFA Nations League campaign so far, the surprise package of European football over the past few years has turned into a team that anybody can beat. They kicked things off with a 6-0 demolition in Switzerland, then lost 3-0 at home against Belgium, and last time out they lost 2-1 against Switzerland. They did record an encouraging 2-2 draw in a friendly match against world champions France before that last defeat against Switzerland, but they need results in competitive matches. Iceland are sure to be relegated in the second tier of the UEFA Nations League, but they still want to restore some pride with a good result in Belgium. However, they will have to do it without star midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, who has pulled out of the squad due to an injury.

Probable line-ups:

Belgium: Courtois - Alderweireld, Kompany, Denayer - Meunier, Tielemans, Witsel, Carrasco - Mertens, Lukaku, Hazard

Iceland: Halldorsson - Saevarsson, Ingason, Arnason, Magnusson - Gislason, Bjarnason, Gunnarsson, Traustason - Finnbogasson, Bodvarsson

My prediction: Belgium to win 2-0, Lukaku and company can't let this opportunity slip away.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Belgium win - 1.20
Draw - 8.00
Iceland win - 15.00

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