Belgium and Portugal will face a major test ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Saturday, as the two teams go head-to-head in Brussels.
Portugal are the current European champions, while Belgium enter the World Cup with hype and momentum after a record-breaking qualifying campaign. Both teams are filled with talent known for their scoring exploits, so for neutral fans, this should be must-watch television.
Here is a look ahead at the match.
International – Friendlies
Belgium vs Portugal live stream
Date : Saturday 2nd June 2018
Time : 2:45 Pm Et
There’s no denying Belgium’s qualifying campaign was impressive―the Red Devils went unbeaten, winning all but one of their matches and setting a new record for goals scored in a UEFA qualifying group with 43. Per UEFA.com’s Paul Saffer, world champions Germany equalled the amount.
Belgium feasted on a number of smaller teams―the likes of Gibraltar and Estonia never stood a chance―and have impressed against some of the continent’s best as well in recent years, with wins over France, the Netherlands and Italy. Counting friendlies, they haven’t lost since 2016.
Players of the Belgian national football team Red Devils, (From L) Thorgan Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Christian Benteke, Vincent Kompany, Christian Kabasele and Michy Batshuayi arrive for a training session on May 23, 2018, in Tubize. – At the start of the
BRUNO FAHY/Getty Images
But the Red Devils have shown vulnerabilities against solid teams lately, including a 3-3 draw against Mexico, a narrow 1-0 win over Japan and a draw with Russia last year.
In those matches, the Belgians struggled with each team’s quicker, more athletic players out wide and up top―another reminder of their relative weakness at the full-back position.
Portugal have plenty of attacking talent and will provide the hosts with a stern―and needed―test ahead of the World Cup. We’ll learn whether the hype is legitimate on Saturday.
Can Portugal’s Defence Survive the Onslaught?
The current European champions wasted a 2-0 advantage in their last friendly, settling for a 2-2 draw against Tunisia, a team not expected to do much at the World Cup.
BRAGA, PORTUGAL – MAY 28: Hamdi Nagguez of Tunisia in action during the friendly match of preparation for FIFA 2018 World Cup between Portugal and Tunisia at the Estadio AXA on May 28, 2018 in Braga, Portugal. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images
That’s a bad omen for Portugal, who enter the tournament with some question marks. They’re missing a number of depth players who played a key role two years ago, including Barcelona’s Andre Gomes and Bayern Munich’s Renato Sanches, who have since regressed.
On top of the absentees, there have been some changes to the starting XI as well. One of those changes came in central defence, where