Greece vs Belgium World Cup Qualification Match Preview
Belgium can secure their place at FIFA World Cup 2018 with victory over Greece on Sunday, September 3, at the Stadio Georgios Karaiskakis in Athens.
Roberto Martinez’s men are currently six points clear at the top of Group H with three games left to play and are yet to lose a game so far in their World Cup qualifying campaign.
In fact, Belgium have only dropped points once so far in the group, against Sunday’s opponents in a 1-1 draw in Brussels back in March.
It could have been worse for the hosts too, Belgium needing an 89th-minute equaliser from Romelu Lukaku to rescue a point in a frantic finish with Greece ending the game with nine men.
Match Details :
Date: Sunday, September 3
Time: 7:45 p.m. BST/2:45 p.m. ET/00:15 IST (Next Day)
Venue: Stadio Georgios Karaiskakis, Athens, Greece
TV Info: Sky Sports Football (UK), ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN, ESPN3 (U.S.),Sony Espn (India)
Live Stream : www.Ronado7.net
Squad and Team News :
Michael Skibbe has a few injury concerns to deal with ahead of the visit of Belgium on Thursday, as he could be without the services of three of his key first-team players on Sunday. Captain Vasilis Torosidis is a major absentee, and he is set to miss yet another qualifier after sitting out the match against Estonia as well.
Kostas Mitroglou, though, will be the most high profile player missing from Skibbe’s matchday squad as he continues nursing a muscle injury. The Greece boss is also sweating over the fitness of centre-back Kyriakos Papadopoulos, who sustained a knee injury on Thursday.
However, the young defender may not be missed dearly as Sokratis Papastathopoulos is available for selection. The Borussia Dortmund defender served a one-match ban against Estonia and is, thus, set to make his return on Sunday.
Up front, meanwhile, Skibbe’s major team selection centres around his team’s striker. Dimitris Diamantakos looks set to replace Apostolos Vellios as the focal point of attack to provide a bigger threat with his directness and smart movement.
Possible Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Karnezis, Stafylidis, Sokratis, Manolas, Tzavellas; Samaris, Zeca; Mantalos, Fortounis, Donis; Diamantakos
A 9-0 win that took their goal difference to a gigantic +31. Roberto Martinez’s men have transformed into a free scoring bunch, even though minnows Gibraltar were the recipient of the aforementioned rout.
However, with Kevin De Bruyne pulling the strings, and the likes of Eden Hazard, Yannick Carrasco and Dries Mertens cutting through the lines with pace in addition to the goalscoring prowess of Romelu Lukaku, the Belgium boss has an attacking powerhouse at his disposal.
At the back, the Red Devils are no pushovers either, with the experience and guile of Toby Alderweireld, Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen creating a solid back-three. And Martinez has a lot of firepower in reserves as well, with the likes of Youri Tielemans, Thorgan Hazard and Kevin Mirallas able deputies.
The new AS Monaco man, though, looks set to start on Sunday, with Axel Witsel suspended due to the red card he picked up against Gibraltar. Meanwhile, Belgium captain Hazard is likely to get another start after Martinez hinted that the Chelsea winger is fit and raring to go.
Possible Starting XI (3-4-3): Courtois; Alderweireld, Kompany, Vertonghen; Meunier, De Bruyne, Tielemans, Carrasco; Mertens, Lukaku, Hazard