Time of match: 20:00 (UK time)
Venue: Allianz Riviera
After a shaky 2-0 defeat to Italy in their opening game, the Belgium boys were back to winning ways on Saturday with a 3-0 demolishing of Ireland. With the first half quoted as being ‘arguably the most boring half of football ever,’ the Belgium team came out in the second half with Romelu Lukaku scoring in the 46th minute from a Kevin De Bruyne cross, followed by a header from Axel Witsel and another low effort from Lukaku.
De Bruyne and Lukaku were both heavily criticized in their first game against Italy with the commentator questioning if De Bruyne ‘was wearing someone else’s boots’ and Lukaku was booed by fans before being replaced by Liverpool countryman Divock Origi. Nonetheless, both players showed their class against Ireland, albeit against a low seeded team but hopefully they can recreate the magic tonight against a lacklustre Sweden and secure a top two spot for the Euro 2016 knockout stages.
Where They Stand
Belgium currently sit second in the table and with Italy likely to beat Ireland, its that second position that they should probably be aiming for.
However, a loss to Sweden will see them being leapfrogged and having to try qualify as one of the best third teams – a new rule by introduced by UEFA and currently Sweden desperately need a result.
Belgium vs Sweden Team News
Sweden is the definition of a one man team, if there ever was one. Zlatan is the skillful, champions league quality, arrogant player that comes across once a generation and with the whole country on his shoulders, the pressure is on for him to deliver – despite failing to make any impact in their first two games against Ireland and Italy. Zlatan has said that he is going to retire from international football after Euro 2016 so no doubt he will ‘dare to Zlatan’ as he so calls it (english for do cool skills).
Sweden only have one injury concern of Mikael Lustig and plan to play Marcus Berg and Zlatan in attack, like in their last game which was a 1-0 defeat to Italy.
For Belgium, the introduction of Dembele and Carrasco brought some new life into the squad against Ireland but unfortunately both were injured and substituted during the game so they might miss out. One player expected to play again is right-back Meunier who was solid at the back, looked good going forward and set up the second goal of the game. For more information, see our Belgium squad page.
Belgium vs Sweden Match Prediction
The last time Belgium played Sweden was exactly two years ago in a World Cup warm up when an on-fire Lukaku scored as Belgium won 2-0.
We expect the same again tonight as we predict a 2-1 victory for Belgium with both Lukaku and Zlatan getting on the scoresheet.
About the Stadium
The Allianz Riviera is the home of OGC Nice and is also used for rugby and music gigs.