Belgium look excellent value to wear down Capello’s Russia.
It took Belgium an awfully long time to wear down Algeria in Belo Horizonte but Marc Wilmots’ much-touted team got the job done in the end and that will have given them plenty of confidence ahead of a clash with Russia.
There would have been a lot of red faces among the Red Devils had they failed to beat Algeria but it took a more direct approach to succeed after the North African side had largely to managed to stifle the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Mousa Dembele.
Marouane Felaini put a traumatic season at Old Trafford behind him with a headed equaliser and fellow substitute Dries Martens popped up with a late winner.
But Belgium’s golden generation know they will have to play better if they are to live up to the hype and question marks remain over a defence in which veteran Daniel van Buyten and full back Toby Alderweireld look particularly vulnerable to a forward with pace.
That said, Russia hardly impressed in the opening Group H draw with South Korea in a game in which both starts seemed to have settled for a point long before the final whistle. Russia are due to stage the next World Cup but they are going to have to unearth some new talent in the next four years if they are to be successful hosts.
Fabio Capello’s current squad is only workmanlike with hardly any names recognised outside of Moscow. Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev is one but it was his mistake that gifted an equally unambitious South Korea a barely deserved opener in Cuiba – Zenit St Petersburg striker Aleksandr Kerzhakov sparing his blushes.
Yuri Zhirkov spent two years at Chelsea but was an expensive flop and it seems a very long time since he was in included in the Team Of the Tournament at the 2008 European Championships.
Belgium should be beating teams like the clearly-limited Russians if they are to make any impact in Brazil and should do so at Evens, though may again take a while to break down the opposition. The Draw/Belgium on the HT/FT is 18/5.
The match kicks off at 5pm UK time on Sunday June 22nd at the Estadio do Maracana, Rio de Janeiro.