Belgium will aim to register a second consecutive win and book their spot in the knockout rounds when they take on Tunisia in a Group G match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at the Spartak Stadium here on Saturday. The talented Belgium squad are the favourites in the group and they gave ample glimpses of their class in a comfortable 3-0 win over Panama in their campaign opener.
Star centre-forward Romelu Lukaku scored twice in that game and his height and physical presence should be useful against the physically strong Tunisia defence. The Belgians boast a number of stars in their line-up including the likes of star Chelsea winger Eden Hazard and Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne. However, it will not be easy going for Belgium against Tunisia, who have a strong defence and are well organised in midfield.
The North Africans gave England a tough time in their first match. The English line-up, studded with Premier League stars, was effectively blunted by the Tunisia defence. The Tunisian midfield also did well, consistently winning the 50-50 balls and doing well when in possession. However, they fell short in the final third due to the poor quality of the final pass. Despite their shortcomings up front, Tunisia seemed good enough to come away with a point. It was the silly conceding of a corner in second-half injury time and some poor marking of England's star striker Harry Kane at the far post that kept them from what would have been a well-deserved draw.
Tunisia will be keen to avoid such mistakes against the higher rated Belgians. They will, however, miss goalkeeper Mouez Hassen, who has returned home to undergo surgery on an injured shoulder. Despite his team's dominant performance in the first match, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez is not ready to take Tunisia lightly. "They have a lot of bravery and they're very dynamic," he said of Tunisia. "The players have a good understanding between each other and they can bring energy and intensity on counterattacks. They play direct, efficient football," Martinez told FIFA.com.
Belgium Probable Starting Lineup: Courtois, Alderweireld, Boyata, Vertonghen, Meunier, De Bruyne, Witsel, Carrasco, Mertens, Eden Hazard, Lukaku
Tunisia Probable Starting Lineup: bBenMustapha, Meriah, Syam Ben Youssef, Bronn, Maaloul, Skhiri, Badri, Sassi, Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, Khazri, Sliti
Belgium vs Tunisia, 2018 FIFA World Cup Group G Match Prediction: Belgium 2-0 Tunisia