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Belgium V Scotland: Match Preview
After Friday nights defeat against Wales Craig Levein's side will have to go out all guns blazing against top of the table side Belgium to give themselves a shot of qualification for Brazil 2014.
With just two points from a possible nine available Scotland are in danger of being left out of the qualification race and are running out of games to turn their fortunes round. But with the Belgians coming off the back of a 3-0 win in Serbia the Scots are heavy underdogs away from home.
This match is one that Belgium are fully expected to win, with a team full of young talented players, many of whom are now plying their trade in the Premier League and they're not just bolstering the squads of the bottom half of the table. The likes of Eden Hazard, Kevin Mirallas, Moussa Dembele and Marouane Fellaini are all becoming household names at big clubs.
Scotland wont give up without a fight though, they too have their fair share of quality footballers including Manchester United's Darren Fletcher who has recently returned from a long term illness and Steven Fletcher who has proved his critics wrong with his impressive goal tally in the Premier League for Sunderland already this season.
Belguim are yet to lose any of their Brazil 2014 qualification matches, winning two and drawing one, scoring six goals and only conceding one in the process. They became the first side in over a decade to go to Serbia and come out with a win in a World Cup qualification match. That in itself is a sign of how much confidence this young and technically gifted team have.
Belgium: Last Five Results
Serbia 3 – 0 Belgium
Belgium 1 – 1 Croatia
Wales 0 – 2 Belgium
Belgium 4 – 2 Holland
England 1 – 0 Belgium
Scotland on the other hand are yet to win a qualification game in Group A, drawing twice and losing once, scoring only twice and conceding three. Their latest defeat coming at the hands of Wales. Two late goals from Gareth Bale severely dented Scotland's hopes of progressing to the group stages of the next World Cup and also sapped a huge amount of confidence from the side.
Scotland: Last Five Results
Wales 2 – 1 Scotland
Scotland 1 – 1 Macedonia
Scotland 0 – 0 Serbia
Scotland 3 – 1 Australia
USA 5 – 1 Scotland
Belgium now posses a whole host of extremely talented young players, so I'm spoilt for choice when it comes to picking their star man. But I have to go with Eden Hazard. He may not have as many goals as some of his team mates do for the national side but he skill, ability and vision for a killer pass, for me, makes him Belgium's most dangerous man. We've seen glimpses what he is capable of in the Premier League with Chelsea.
Scotland don't quite have the same amount of talent capable of winning a match on their own. They work as a team and get results that way. But for me their stand out player has to be Steven Fletcher, who has recently ended his Scotland exile and returned to the national team, and he is more than capable of saving their qualification campaign if he can get the service he needs from midfield and the wings.
The two teams have previously met 14 times. With Belgium coming out on top with eight wins to Scotland's four, with two draws between them. Belgium won their last encounter, a 2-0 win during qualification for the 2002 World Cup
Prediction: Belgium 3 – 1 Scotland
I think Belgium will be to strong for a Scotland side lacking in confidence and self-belief after their loss against Wales. With goals from Hazard, Mirralas and Lukaku, Fletcher will grab a consolation goal for the Scots.
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