Belgium will seek to continue their winning momentum in the UEFA Nations League when they host Iceland in Brussels on Tuesday.
Belgium are set to host Iceland on Tuesday, in what will be their second game in the new edition of the UEFA Nations League. It is also going to be their first game on home soil for a long time, after football in Europe came to a halt due to the Coronavirus.
The Red Devils started their Nations League campaign with a 2-0 win over Denmark in their opening fixture. Goals from Jason Denayer and Dries Mertens were enough to help them seal all three points, giving them a major advantage heading into this clash. It should also add early pressure on England, who face Denmark in the other group game.
However, Iceland are no slouch. They are one of the most determined and solid teams in international football and were only beaten by a late winner from Raheem Sterling in what was an eventful opening fixture against England.
The Strakarnir Okkar will be hoping for better fortunes this time around, knowing the fact they cannot afford to lose yet another game if they are to finish second in the group. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will be running the rule over these two sides ahead of their exciting match-up in the UEFA Nations League on Tuesday.
Tactics & Team News
Some rotation in the first-team could be in the offing for Belgium as Roberto Martinez had left out a few big names in the game against Denmark.
Kevin De Bruyne, in particular, is tipped to return to the team, perhaps at the expense of Axel Witsel. He is likely to partner Youri Tielemans in the double-pivot of Belgium’s 3-4-3.
The two midfielders will look to provide supply to the main attacker Romelu Lukaku. But the Inter Milan striker himself could find additional support from Real Madrid superstar Eden Hazard, who is expected to replace Dries Mertens in the wider attacking role.
Leandro Trossard is also tipped to come into the side, replacing Yannick Ferreira Carrasco. He will complete the three-man attack alongside Hazard and Lukaku.
Elsewhere, Thomas Meunier may replace his fellow Borussia Dortmund teammate, Thorgan Hazard, as one of the wing-backs, though it would force Timothy Castagne to shift into the opposite flank.
And finally, the Belgian defence could consist of Jason Denayer, Jan Vertonghen and Leander Dendoncker, who could come in at the expense of Toby Alderweireld. These three will cover Simon Mignolet in goal as the hosts look to cope with the absence of Thibaut Courtois, who has contracted Covid-19.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Mignolet; Dendoncker, Denayer, Vertonghen; Meunier, Tielemans, de Bruyne, Castagne; Trossard, Lukaku, Hazard
Iceland will be missing out on the services of Sverrir Ingason after he received a red card against England. Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson is likely to replace the centre-back and partner the experienced Keri Arnason, at the heart of Iceland’s four-man backline.
Erik Hamren’s side are expected to persist with their strong pressing game, with hard-working midfielders like Birkir Bjarnason and Victor Palsson providing solidity to the backline that will be additionally supported by the two full-backs in Hjortur Hermannsson and Hordur Magnusson.
Iceland opted for two strikers in the game against England. And given Belgium’s three-man backline, we could expect something similar this time around. That means both Albert Gudmundsson and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson could retain their place in the starting lineup.
As for the creative department, the absence of Gylfi Sigurdsson means the onus will be on Arnor Sigurdsson, who might replace Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson on the right-side of the midfield, with Arnor Ingvi Traustason starting on the opposite flank.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Hermannsson, Eyjolfsson, Arnason, Magnusson; Sigurdsson, Bjarnason, Palsson, Traustason; Gudmundsson, Bodvarsson
- Belgium have won all 11 of their previous meetings with Iceland, most recently beating them 3-0 away and 2-0 at home in the 2018/19 UEFA Nations League.
- Iceland have not scored in their last eight competitive games against Belgium, since they lost 5-2 at home against the Red Devils in a World Cup qualifier in 1957.
- The previous meeting featuring the two came on Nations League matchday 5 on 15/11/2018 when the final score was Belgium 2-0 Iceland.
- Prior to the defeat against England on Saturday, Iceland were on a five-game unbeaten streak in which they had picked up four victories.
Player to Watch
Among all the De Bruynes and the Hazards, it is Youri Tielemans who could make an impact in this fixture. After all, the Leicester City man was in fine flow in the win over Denmark and looked home in that number eight role, alongside Witsel.
Although Tielemans may not have Witsel by his side this time around, his ability to carry the ball and orchestrate the game could come in useful for the hosts this week, especially against an Iceland who aren’t expected to share much possession.
Moreover, the ex-Anderlecht prodigy also has a point to prove, after a relatively disappointing campaign for him individually. Hence, a solid performance against Iceland should give him the boost he needs prior to the start of the 2020/21 campaign.
Belgium 2-0 Iceland
Iceland shared only 22% possession when they face England in the last game. This game should be no different, with Belgium packing some firepower as far as the quality is concerned. They are also in great form and are not missing any of their star players, meaning the hosts shouldn’t find any difficulties sealing another win, as they look to get an early lead over England in the table.