Despite boasting two of the best five players in World football right now, Wednesday night’s Nations League fixture features two teams who have consistently underperformed for years.
Belgium’s Golden generation has come and (almost) gone and still, they’re yet to lift a trophy together. Winning is a habit and even winning “small” trophies together can ease the pressure and foster the right winning habits in a team. Which is why Kevin de Bruyne’s recent “glorified friendly” comments were so surprising. As a member of a Manchester City squad that knows how important winning any available trophy is, he really should have known better.
Poland, on the other hand, has been unlucky. The Poles have a truly world-class player in Robert Lewandowski but, unlike Belgium, they have no other players of corresponding quality and have predictably failed to properly challenge in international competitions.
Which superstar powers their team to victory tonight?
Belgium vs Poland H2H
In the four games the two teams have played, Poland won two games, Belgium got one win and the last game ended in a draw.
In the last five games, Belgium has won two games, lost once and drawn two matches (L-W-D-D-W) while Poland has won three games, lost one and drawn one game in its last five matches. (W-W-D-L-W)
Belgium vs Poland Team news
Romelu Lukaku (ankle sprain) departed the game against Netherlands early and is expected to miss out of today’s game. Apart from squad withdrawals, Jason Denayer and Thibaut Courtois, the rest of the Belgian squad is fit. Head Coach, Roberto Martinez is expected to call upon his strongest starting lineup for this game.
Expected Belgium starting XI: Simon Mignolet. Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Dedrick Boyata. Thomas Meunier, Youri Tielemans, Leander Dendoncker, Yannick Carrasco. Kevin de Bruyne. Dries Mertens, Leandro Trossard. (3-4-1-2)
The Polish squad is largely fit as well, the absences in the last game were for tactical reasons. Expect Juventus Number 1, Szczesny, to make his return to the starting lineup, however.
Expected Poland Starting XI: Wojciech Szczesny. Bartosz Bereszynski, Jan Bednarek, Kamil Glik, Tymoteusz Puchacz. Mateusz Klich, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Nicola Zalewski. Piotr Zielinski. Robert Lewandowski, Krzysztof Piatek. (4-3-1-2)
So far in this Nations League campaign, Poland is doing much better than Belgium. The Poles have scored 2 goals to Belgium’s solitary goal and conceded just 1 goal, three less than Belgium has conceded already.
In last year’s Nations League season, Poland scored 1 goal/game, a far cry from Belgium’s table-topping 2.4 goals/game.
Belgium like to dominate the ball, shown by their 56.6 average ball possession and 560.4 accurate passes/game in the last Nations League season. Poland, on the other hand, averaged just 46.5% of possession and 349.2 accurate passes/game.
Poland was almost flawless defensively at last year’s campaign, however. They averaged 13.7 interceptions/game and 0 successful tackles/game compared to Belgium’s 8 successful tackles/game and 9.8 interceptions/game.
Both sides conceded 3 penalties last season. They will need to be careful to avoid doing likewise here.
Last season, De Bruyne led all players with 7 G+A while Lewandowski led Poland with 4 G+A.
Belgium vs Poland prediction
Over 1.5 goals @ 1.28. Their H2H fixtures have ended in at least an over 1.5 goals result in 75% of their games.
Belgium outright win @ 1.65
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