Belgium will host England in their fifth match of League A Group 2 on November 16 as Robert Martinez’s side looks to avenge a 2-1 loss to the Three Lions during the reverse fixture.
While Kevin De Bruyne and Co. have won three of their four group stage games to sit atop the table with nine points, England sit third, joint with Denmark, after winning twice and drawing once in their last four matches.
Though England have dominated their encounters with Belgium over the years, winning 16 of their 24 face-offs, only six of them have been competitive meets. And both Belgium and England have won twice, drawn twice, and lost twice in those six competitions.
England will be travelling to Brussels after 50 long years and Belgium will relish another home fixture as they have ended victorious in their last ten matches on home turf. Buoyed by the likes of Romelu Lukaku and De Bruyne, Belgium have scored a whopping 46 goals in those matches. Belgium also come to this fixture at the back of a comprehensive 2-1 win over Switzerland where Michy Batshuayi’s brace sealed the deal for them.
However, Belgium’s only loss in their last five matches have come against England and Martinez will have to settle the score without mercurial winger Eden Hazard, who recently tested positive for coronavirus. Barring Hazard, the Red Devils will also be without Leandro Trossard, Alexis Saelemaekers and Hendrik van Crombrugge, all of whom pulled out with injuries.
Though England’s UEFA Nations League campaign has hardly been adventurous so far, with the Three Lions scoring only thrice in their four league games, Gareth Southgate will be optimistic after his players’ 3-0 win against Ireland on Friday. With Harry Maguire, Jadon Sancho and Dominic Calvert-Lewin all on the scoresheet, England will be looking to keep their dominance against Belgium intact this weekend.
However, Southgate will be without central defender Joe Gomez who had to pull out after injuring his knee in training. Apart from Gomes, England will also be without Marcus Rashford and Conor Coady. While Rashford is nursing a shoulder injury, Conor Coady will be unavailable after he was in contact with a COVID-19 positive person prior to the national camp.
England (3-4-3): Jordan Pickford (GK), Harry Maguire, Michael Keane, Tyrone Mings, Kieran Trippier, Declan Rice, Jordan Henderson, Ben Chilwell, Jadon Sancho, Harry Kane (C), Jack Grealish
Belgium (3-4-2-1): Simon Mignolet (GK), Toby Alderweireld, Jason Denayer, Jan Vertonghen (C), Thomas Meunier, Youri Tielemans, Axel Witsel, Timothy Castagne, Kevin de Bruyne, Yannick Carrasco, Romelu Lukaku
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