Belgium v Portugal Betting Offers, Preview, Stats and Betting Tips, Saturday 2nd June 2018, Heysel Stadium, Kick off: 19:45

Belgium take their World Cup preparation up a level on Saturday when they face Portugal in Brussels. Roberto Martinez is yet to announce his 23 man squad and has 28 players to work with currently so this is a very important match for the Belgians. It’s also important for Portugal who were less than impressive when drawing 2-2 against Tunisia on Monday night.

They may be the reigning European champions but Portugal will need to step up their levels considerably to have any chance of getting to the latter stages of the World Cup. Testing themselves against this talented Belgium side makes a lot of sense in that regard. Both Belgium and Portugal will have their backers in Russia but who will come out on top when they meet at Heysel Stadium?

Belgium v Portugal Betting Offers and Free Bets

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Belgium v Portugal Head to Head Record

  • Portugal 2-1 Belgium – 29 March 2016, Friendly
  • Belgium 1-2 Portugal – 2 June 2007, European Championship Qualifying
  • Portugal 4-0 Belgium – 24 March 2007, European Championship Qualifying
  • Belgium 1-1 Portugal – 23 February 2000, Friendly
  • Belgium 3-0 Portugal – 6 September 1989, World Cup Qualifying

Belgium v Portugal Preview

Belgium were the hipsters’ international team of choice a few years ago. Those with an eye on continental football revelled in telling anybody who would listen about the incredible array of talent coming through the ranks in Belgian football but the cat is very much out of the bag now. With star performers at big clubs all over the world, Belgium are now expected to make it to the latter stages of the World Cup.

For many, the problem that Belgium have is the strange decisions made by their manager, Roberto Martinez. The former Wigan and Everton boss angered many Belgium fans by apparently leaving Radja Nainggolan out of the squad because he simply doesn’t get on with the Roma midfielder. That decision was the latest in a line of headscratchers so Martinez still has a lot to prove to the doubters.

Fernando Santos has rather less to prove having led Portugal to Euro 2016 glory. It may not have been pretty at times in France, but Portugal got the job done when it mattered. That experience will be very useful but do Portugal have the attacking intent to win the World Cup? International football has been rather defensive in nature for a few years now and Portugal may struggle to break teams down. That leaves them relying on luck (and Cristiano Ronaldo) to just about do enough to win games and they surely won’t get lucky again.

Of the two sides it’s Belgium who look the most likely to make it past the quarter final stage at the World Cup. Yes, Martinez is far from the finished package as a manager but he does generally get his teams playing exciting, attacking football and Belgium certainly have the talent to blow past opponents in Russia. They should also have enough to get a win against Portugal in Brussels.

Relevant Stats, Injuries and Suspensions

The head to head record between Portugal and Belgium is very tight. Their 18 encounters thus far have resulted in six wins for Portugal, five for Belgium and six draws. Portugal have won each of the last three meetings but this is a stronger Belgium side even than the one which Portugal beat in a friendly before Euro 2016.

The ankle injury which saw Cristiano Ronaldo subbed off during the final Clasico of the Spanish season saw fans of Real Madrid and Portugal saying their prayers. Fortunately for fans of Real, Ronaldo was fit enough to play in their Champions League victory over Liverpool. In order to ensure that he is fit and fresh enough for Portugal’s World Cup campaign it looks very likely as though he will be rested until their first game of the tournament against Spain.

Martinez’s decision to delay Belgium’s final squad announcement means we’re likely to see a number of fringe players get some game time against Portugal. He also has players who were involved in big matches towards the end of the domestic season so expect to see many of Belgium’s stars given only a small amount of playing time in Brussels.

Belgium v Portugal Tips

Fernando Santos experimented a little with his defence against Tunisia and while Portugal conceded twice, he may well stick with Ruben Dias alongside Pepe. Those two could form the centre back partnership that Portugal use in the World Cup but there is work to be done and Belgium should be able to exploit their slight lack of understanding. Therefore, a bet on over 2.5 goals looks safe at 13/10 with Coral.

Portugal should also have their chances against a Belgium side lacking in defensive solidity due to Martinez’s own experimentation. So, make sure to bet on both teams to score at evens with Betfair. Narrow favourites Belgium get the nod in the match odds market at evens with Ladbrokes while Michy Batshuayi is a good bet to score first at 9/2 with Betfair.