Belgium: Courtois; Vertonghen, van Buyten, Kompany, Alderweireld; Dembele, Witsel, Fellaini; de Bruyne, Lukaku, Hazard.
Vincent Kompany is a slight doubt, but is expected to be fit on time for Sunday’s game.
Russia: Akinfeev,; Kombarov, Ignashevich, Berezutski, Yeshchenko; Glushakov, Shatov, Fayzulin; Samedov Kokorin, Zhirkov.
101GG Betting Tip:
Belgium and Russia will be meeting at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday for their second match of the World Cup.
Marc Wilmots’ side had displayed a somewhat disappointing performance against Alegria last week, falling 1:0 behind to Algeria and needing two substitute players to turn the game around and bag the win.
Despite the hype around the Red Devils, they were not able to live up to expectations, with a nervous first half display putting them a goal behind. Only after the equalizer in the second half through Maroaune Fellaini, did the Belgians show flashes of their vast talent, and ultimately were able to get away with the three points through an 80th minute goal by Dries Mertens.
Romelu Lukaku is expected to be given the nod up front once again, despite a disappointing game against the North Africans. Man United’s Marouane Fellaini, domestically a big flop, managed to impress by bringing much needed danger into the Belgian attack, and is likely to feature from the start against the Russians.
Fabio Cappello saw his side struggle against the South Koreans, but succeeded in securing a draw after falling 1:0 behind compliments of an embarrassing Akinfeev mistake in goal. Cappello reiterated that he will not punish his goalie for his amateur error, and will continue to play him as his first choice.
Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, who was still far from convincing against Algeria, and Kevin De Bruyne who was one of Wilmots’ best players on the pitch, will be the key players to watch out for.
Should Belgium finally shake off their nervousness and connect, they will certainly dictate the pace of the game, and cause trouble in front of Akinfeev’s goal. The Russians, on the other hand, will defend deeply, and wait for counter-attacks.
101GG Prediction: Belgium 2 – Russia 1.
Some essential facts and stats to help with online betting:
Russia are now unbeaten in 11 games, with their last defeat dating back to August 2013, against Northern Ireland.
Belgium are unbeaten in 5 matches, with their last defeat dating back to November 2013, against Japan.
Belgium have won 6, drawn 2 and lost 2 during their last 10 fixtures.
Aleksandr Kerzhakov has now joined Vladimir Beschastnykh as joint-top goalscorer for Russia with 26 goals.