Although a year has now passed since the World Cup, that tournament still looms large in people’s expectations of this match. And that’s not without good reason. Belgium put on an amazing performance throughout that summer, ending in third place. Scotland, on the other hand, failed to qualify. Things have started to turn around though. The Nations League saw more fire from the team, and the Euro Qualifiers have been even better.
Unfortunately for them, Belgium followed up an excellent World Cup showing with more brilliant performances. Even though they failed to make it to the UEFA Nations League finals, they came awfully close. In fact, the 5-2 fall to Switzerland that sealed their fate is their only loss since they came away with third place. The question isn’t whether Scotland have improved, it is whether they have improved enough to match the might of Belgium.
Belgium vs Scotland Prediction: Belgium 2-0 Scotland
Scotland haven’t given us enough to make us believe they can pull off the upset here and topple Belgium. While their victories have shown improvement, they have been against the likes of San Marino and Cyprus: teams not on the level of their opponents here. Plus, it was only a couple of months ago they lost 3-0 to Kazakhstan. Due to this – and considering that Belgium have been so strong consistently over the last year, and won their last two matches to nil – we think that the home team will come away with a convincing 2-0 victory.
Our recommended tip: Belgium win to nil
It appears we are not alone in our lack of faith in the Scottish team to win this contest. Ladbrokes have high-risk match odds of 25/1 for Scotland to come away victorious. That really is no surprise though, considering just how strong Belgium have been in recent times. So much so that you can get low-risk 4/6 odds of the home team winning to nil. Based on recent results – with Belgium winning three out of their last five matches without conceding a single goal – we recommend that you predict they maintain a clean sheet here to get a higher potential ROI.
Unfortunately for Scotland, this is a case of bad news and worse news. The bad news is that they have only ever beaten Belgium four times in 18 matches. The worse news is that the last time they won was way back in the 1987 European Championship. The closest they came to victory since then was a 2-2 draw in the 2001 World Cup. And they have since lost – to nil we might add – four times in a row to Belgium. Their last head-to-head contest saw this game’s home side beat them by no less than 4-0. History has not been kind to Scotland in this fixture.
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Players to watch: Eden Hazard & Oliver Burke
Belgium: Eden Hazard
So consistent is Eden Hazard that it was surprising to see the forward fail to score in his team’s 3-0 victory over Kazakhstan. Even then, he was still the man who gave the assist to Dries Mertens, as well as scoring twice over Russia and opening the game against Cyprus. This means Hazard has had a significant hand in Belgium’s last three victories. He also scored the second goal which secured Belgium’s third place World Cup finish, among many other achievements. In other words, he’ll likely be a key player here.
Scotland: Oliver Burke
Although Scotland did beat Cyprus in their last outing, they only did so thanks to a last gasp goal by Oliver Burke in the 89th minute. It was the last thing anyone expected and, if Scotland are to beat Belgium, those are the exact kinds of surprises they need. For that reason, Oliver Burke is our player to watch.