• Analysis

Match Preview: Russia vs Belgium

Belgium
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Russia welcome Belgium to the Gazprom Arena in St. Petersburg tomorrow evening at 18:00 (CET).

One of the top contenders to win the upcoming EURO 2020, Belgium travel to Saint Petersburg for their ninth round qualifying encounter with Russia.

Both sides have already booked their place at the European Championship and will play for the first place in the Group I standings tomorrow evening, as the Red Devils are top of the table at the moment with a perfect record of eight wins in eight games.

Russia have collected 21 points in their qualifying campaign so far, losing only in Brussels to their next opponents. A 2-0 win or victory with a three-goal margin would see the EURO 2008 semi-finalists take over control in the group before the final qualifying round.

Team news

Russia boss Stanislav Cherchesov has named a 26-man squad for the final two matches, including uncapped quartet Maksim Belyaev, Dmitri Chistyakov, Daniil Fomin and Rifat Zhemaletdinov.

Midfielder Aleksei Miranchuk returns after injury but his brother Anton remains sidelined along with Alan Dzagoev, Yury Gazinsky and Fyodor Smolov, while key man Denis Cheryshev has pulled out.

Kevin De Bruyne, Leandro Trossard and Jason Denayer are back in the squad after missing the last set of internationals due to injury, but defenders Jan Vertonghen and Thomas Meunier are ruled out.

Stats

Belgium are one of only two teams with a perfect record in EURO 2020 qualifying and they have not even conceded a goal in their last seven matches.

Since losing in Belgium in their opening match of the campaign, Russia have collected maximum points from their other seven games in Group I.

The Red Devils have the best defense in the European Qualifiers, having conceded only one goal – in the 3-1 win over Russia back in March.

They also have the second-best attack, as they’ve found the net on 30 occasions so far in the qualifiers. Only England with 33, after putting seven past Montenegro last night have scored more goals than Belgium.

Russia are the third-best team in terms of attacking record. Stanislav Cherchesov’s side has scored 27 goals so far in the qualifying campaign, including a 9-0 win over San Marino in the third round.

They have never beaten Belgium though, losing four of the five encounters with the Red Devils across all competitions.

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