WORLD CUP PREVIEW

AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

WORLD CUP PREVIEW Thurs: Croatia v Belgium

Belgium’s catastrophic 0-2 reverse against Morocco on Sunday means Roberto Martinez’s side are in serious danger of becoming one of the significant casualties of the World Cup group stages.

Despite boasting – at least on paper – one of the stronger squads, age appears to be catching up with some of their former stars. They looked off the pace against Canada despite their fortuitous 1-0 win, but their luck ran out against the North Africans at the weekend, leaving them with the unenviable task of beating Croatia in order to progress.

The Croats themselves looked less than impressive in their group opener against Morocco, but turned on the style against Canada on Sunday evening, comprehensively brushing them aside after an early scare. That win will buoy Luka Modric and co. who know they need just a point to see them safely through to the Round of 16. That dynamic in of itself makes this an even tougher test for Belgium. The Red Devils need goals, and quickly, if they’re to take a proper stranglehold of this group during Matchday 3.

It’s for that reason I fancy them to start quickly, regardless of the full-time result. Romelu Lukaku has been restricted to just one cameo at the tournament so far, but Roberto Martinez will see no issue in risking his star Centre Forward with so much at stake. He’s 4/1 to score first on Thursday, and if Belgium do indeed set the tone early then I think that begins to look like good value.

Croatia v Belgium
FIFA World Cup F
15:00 BBC One / BBC iPlayer / BBC Sport Website

HEAD-TO-HEAD
SEP 2003 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS Belgium 2-1 Croatia
MAR 2010 INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY Belgium 0-1 Croatia
SEP 2012 WORLD CUP QUALIFYING Belgium 1-1 Croatia
OCT 2013 WORLD CUP QUALIFYING Croatia 1-2 Belgium
JUN 2021 INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY Belgium 1-0 Croatia

BELGIUM
SEP 2022 NATIONS LEAGUE Belgium 2-1 Wales
SEP 2022 NATIONS LEAGUE Netherlands 1-0 Belgium
NOV 2022 INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY Belgium 1-2 Egypt
NOV 2022 WORLD CUP Belgium 1-0 Canada
NOV 2022 Belgium 0-2 Morocco

CROATIA
SEP 2022 NATIONS LEAGUE Croatia 2-1 Austria
SEP 2022 NATIONS LEAGUE Austria 1-3 Croatia
NOV 2022 INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY Saudi Arabia 0-1 Croatia
NOV 2022 WORLD CUP Morocco 0-0 Croatia
NOV 2022 WORLD CUP Croatia 4-1 Canada

Croatia’s performance against Canada will have restored some of the confidence they lost in Matchday One though, and if Belgium dominate the ball then you could see the likes of Andrej Kramaric and Ivan Perisic get some joy on the break. That makes Belgium-Draw an interesting bet in the Half-Time Full-Time market at 12/1, the onus is on the Red Devils to take the game to Croatia in the early stages, but exerting that sort of energy will leave them flagging as the game wears on and Croatia have the likes of Mislav Orsic to call upon from the bench to attack a Belgian back line that’s severely lacking in pace.

Despite having a quiet tournament thus far, it’s impossible to keep a talent like Kevin De Bruyne down for too long, and Belgium’s talisman will surely be central to everything his side does on Thursday. That makes him an attractive bet to have some sort of goal involvement in the game, the 23/10 available with starsports.bet to assist a goal at any time looks good value for the best creator in the side, as well as the man who’s on all the set pieces.

DANIEL BUTLER


RECOMMENDED BETS

Back Romelu Lukaku to score first 1pt at 4/1 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
Back Kevin De Bruyne to assist any time 1pt at 23/10 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)


PROFIT/LOSS (WORLD CUP 2022): LOSS 47.35 points (after matches on Wed 30 Nov, includes TWO GOOD bonus on CAMEROON v SERBIA 28 Nov)
(Will include returns from both the OUTRIGHT and SPECIALS previews too)


STAR PROMOTIONS

 

SS_AddedBackPromo_Euro2024_Social
SS_WeBelieveInEngland_800x418_Social
SS_SplitSecondGreyhounds_800x418
SS_HalfAndHalf_SportsCasino_800x418
800x418_Social
SS_BestOddsGuranteed_800x418
timeandahalf
previous arrow
next arrow
SHARE VIA