Belgium vs Spain International Friendly. Date: Thursday; 2-September-2016 Kick-off: 01:45 GMT +7 Venue: King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels.
Both Spain and Belgium begin new eras under new managers when they meet in an international friendly on Thursday. Our free betting predictions suggest that Belgium will get the win on Thursday.
Reason For Betting Tips
Belgium failed to live up to expectations in the summer as they crashed out of Euro 2016 in the quarter finals after they succumbed to a fantastic performance from underdogs Wales. This came after a struggle in the opening game of the tournament against Italy and a narrow win over Sweden.
They did perform excellently against Republic of Ireland and Hungary though, which hinted at them going further than they did with all the talents at their disposal. However, it wasn’t to be for the star studded team, and now their attentions turn towards World Cup qualification.
New manager Roberto Martinez and his assistant manager Thierry Henry will face the likes of Cyprus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Estonia, Gibraltar and Greece in their World Cup qualifiers. This makes this friendly against Spain their toughest test by far of their organised fixtures.
Spain have also acquired a new manager after Vincente del Bosque retired in the summer. An ageing golden generation failed to retain their European Championship crown in France as they fell to Italy in the first knockout round. They struggled to break down Czech Republic in their opening group game and lost to Croatia in their final group match.
It’s the end of an era for Spain. Andres Iniesta has no place in the squad after picking up an injury, and we may well never see him play for Spain again. Iker Casillas has also been dropped by Julen Lopetegui, as has Cesc Fabregas and Pedro. This has made room for Diego Costa and Juan Mata to return to the squad. Youngster Saul Niguez will be hoping to make his first appearance as well.
Whether Julen Lopetegui will decide to bring a new style of play to the Spain team remains to be seen, but it’s quite likely considering their struggles in France. The more organised outfits had no trouble in keeping the slow paced attacking play of Spain at bay, and it looks like the time for that particular style has come to an end.
A new setup will take time to implement though, so I think Belgium have the advantage here. They have a squad full of talent and youth, and the talisman Eden Hazard is in fine form so far this season. This, along with their home advantage, makes odds of 1.900 for a Belgium 0.0 Asian Handicap Win look excellent value for money, so I’m backing that along with a 2-1 correct score prediction at 9/1.
Head To Head
Spain have won six, drawn two, and lost three of their 11 matches against Belgium, but the last meeting was in 2009.
Belgium have won 83% and lost 0% of their last 12 home matches, with their last home defeat coming against Japan in 2013.
It's much of the same for Belgium, with all the big guns, including Thibaut Courtois, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Michy Batshuayi among the inclusions in the squad. Marouane Fellaini has been dropped though. Thorgan Hazard and Steven Defour have been recalled, whilst defender Christian Kabasele is hoping to win his first cap.
Iker Casillas, Cesc Fabregas and Pedro have all been left out of new manager's Julen Lopetegui's first squad. Juan Mata and Diego Costa have both earned recalls to the squad though, as has Paco Alcacer. Youngster Saul Niguez will also be hoping to win his first cap, whilst Andres Iniesta is out with a bruised knee and has also hinted at retirement.