Preview: Belgium vs Estonia – predictions, team news, line-up
Sports Mole provides an overview of Saturday’s clash between Belgium and Estonia in World Cup qualifiers – Europe, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Belgium can officially reserve their place at World Cup 2022 with the victory over Estonia during Saturday’s qualifying match at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels.
The Red Devils are five points ahead of Group E with two rounds to go, while Estonia cannot finish higher than their current fourth place.
After the disappointment of losing to France and Italy in the UEFA Nations League finals last month, Belgium will be eager to find their way back to victory next week.
Roberto MartinezThe team are set to end the year as the top ranked nation in the world, which says a lot about their consistency in qualifying matches.
While their record in major tournaments is disappointing given their âGolden Generationâ of talent, Belgium’s ability to advance to qualifying cannot be underestimated.
A home win over Estonia on Saturday will be enough to secure top spot with one game to go, while even a shock loss could be enough if Wales fail to beat Belarus.
If the unthinkable happened and the Red Devils were to be beaten, combined with Wales defeating Belarus, it would force them to dodge defeat in Cardiff next Tuesday.
Realistically, however, Martinez will be confident his side will get the job done in their final home game this year, having made 14 World Cup qualifiers unbeaten at home.
Estonia enter the game with relatively good morale, despite losing 1-0 to Wales last time in qualifying.
This came following a well-deserved goalless draw against the Dragons in Cardiff and a 2-0 win over Belarus on their own home ground.
Thomas HaberliThe team have enjoyed a few encouraging months, having also ended their long wait for Baltic Cup success this summer.
Estonia may not be able to finish higher than fourth, but holding Belarus – one point down from fifth – gives them plenty to play in Brussels on Saturday.
Form Belgium World Cup Qualifications – Europe:
Belgium form (all competitions):
Estonia World Cup Qualifications – Europe Form:
Estonia form (all competitions):
Belgium have a number of regulars missing from their squad ahead of their double fixture against Estonia and Wales.
Yuri Tielemans, Romelu Lukaku, Michy Batshuayi, Jeremy Doku, Thomas vermaelen and Toby Alderweireld are all out.
Christian Benteke is the most likely option to lead the line in the absence of Lukaku and Batshuayi, with Kevin De Bruyne and Edenic danger provide offensive support.
As for Estonia, they have no suspended central defender Martre Kuusk, who should see Karol Mets brought into a five-man backline that will try to stifle the Belgian attackers.
Karl Hein impressed in the recent stalemate with Wales but the Arsenal youngster is not in the squad this time around so Matvei Igonen seems likely to start.
Possible starting eleven for Belgium:
Courteous; Denayer, Boyata, Vertonghen; Saelemaekers, Witsel, Vanaken, Carrasco; De Bruyne, Hazard; Benteke
Possible starting line-up from Estonia:
Igonen; Teniste, Paskotsi, Mets, Tamm, Pikk; Kreida, Vassiljev, Poom; Anier, Sappinen
We say: Belgium 3-0 Estonia
Belgium have lost their last two matches and now have six out of six points to conclude their World Cup qualifying campaign.
Martinez will likely turn his injured team around, but even so, there is far too much quality in the Red Devils ranks for Estonia to frighten.