Russia 2018: Match of the day – Tunisia vs Belgium preview
Teams: Tunisia vs Belgium
Venue: Spartak Stadium
Belgium will aim to get a second consecutive win and confirm their spot in the Round of 16 when they face Tunisia in a Group G match at the Spartak Stadium today ahead of a blockbuster showdown with England next week.
This will be the second World Cup meeting between these two teams after they played out a 1-1 draw at Korea/Japan 2002.
With the Belgium team favourites in the group, they showed capacities in their 3-0 win over Panama in their campaign opener.
However, Tunisia although was defeated by England with a last minute glimpse goal by Harry Kane. Tunisia were consistently winning the 50-50 balls and doing well when in possession of the ball.
If Tunisia come again today with a strong defence and are well organised in the midfield, Chelsea winger Eden Hazard, Manchester United centre-forward Romelu Luka and Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne will have to be more clinical to give their team the desired result.
Belgium coach Roberto Martinez is not ready to take Tunisia lightly. “They have a lot of bravery and they’re very dynamic,” he said of Tunisia.
“The players have a good understanding between each other and they can bring energy and intensity on counterattacks. They play direct, efficient football,” Martinez told FIFA.com.
Tunisia will be keen to avoid mistakes against the highly rated Belgians and will be more attacking or rely on quick counter-attacks as a second defeat today will see them out of the tournament.
They will, however, miss goalkeeper Mouez Hassen, who has returned home to undergo surgery on an injured shoulder.
Belgium: Thibaut Courtois; Jan Vertonghen, Dedryck Boyata, Toby Alderweireld; Axel Witsel, Kevin De Bruyne, Yannick Carrasco, Thomas Meunier; Dries Mertens, Eden Hazard; Romelu Lukaku
Tunisia: Farouk Ben Mustapha; Yassine Meriah, Syam Ben Yousef, Dylan Bronn, Oussama Haddadi; Ellyes Skhiri, Anice Badri, Ferjani Sassi; Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, Wahbi Khazri, Naim Sliti
Did you know?
Both countries have met three times. Tunisia won 2-1 in a friendly in February 1992 before both teams played out a 1-1 draw at the 2002 World Cup. Belgium then claimed a 1-0 victory in a friendly in June 2014.
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