2018 FIFA World Cup Prediction: Belgium vs Panama

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Verdict: Romelu Lukaku to score – yes

Best Odds: 7/10

Bookmaker: 888sport

Group G right from the start looked the one group that was going to be less interesting, due to two teams being heavy favourites to go to the second round. If that is going to happen, we will see, but Belgium and England are huge favourites against Panama and Tunisia. This match between Belgium and Panama should prove that, as the Red Devils will be expected to win heavily. Big part of that should be Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku.

Belgium

Belgium were the first European team to qualify for the World Cup. They did very well in their group where Bosnia and Herzegovina and Greece were their toughest opponents. They did their job with nine wins and only one draw, without losing a single match and that is a testament to their potential to do big things at this World Cup. Romelu Lukaku was their top scorer with 11 goals in eight matches, but the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Dries Mertens and others should give a great partnership to United’s number nine. Belgium will be expected to top this group ahead of England and this match should offer us an insight in how good they could be in Russia. Since the qualifiers, they played six friendlies, winning four of them, while drawing against Mexico (3-3) and Portugal (0-0).

Team News

Belgium are not in full strength for this match. Vincent Kompany got injured in one of the June friendlies, but the injury is not as serious and that is why he is part of the 23-man squad.

Panama

Panama are making their World Cup debut against Belgium on Monday. They managed to shock everyone and qualify straight from their CONCACAF group, without the need of playing play-offs. They were third in CONCACAF, behind Mexico and Costa Rica. Their performances in the qualifiers were surprising, but they will now want to prove everyone that they thoroughly deserved the place at the biggest stage. Panama were a side tough to break, as they won only three matches out of 10, but also drew on four occasions. After all, their goal-difference of 9-10 tells the story of how rigid they were.

Team News

There are no unavailable players for Panama. They will be in full strength to show everyone what they can do on their World Cup debut.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Belgium scored 43 goals in 10 qualifying matches, averaging 4.3 goals scored per match. Panama should worry
  • Romelu Lukaku scored twice in Belgium’s 4-1 win over Costa Rica in their last friendly match prior to the tournament
  • Since their qualifiers ended, Panama scored just three goals in seven friendlies, losing 6-0 to Switzerland in the process

Conclusion

Belgium are huge favourites and do not be surprised if they hammer Panama right from the off. Sure, Panama will want to shine on their World Cup debut, but Belgium’s overwhelming quality should simply be to much for them. Also, Romelu Lukaku is a forward incredibly tough to mark and he should have his chances to score.

Verdict: Romelu Lukaku to score – yes

Best Odds: 7/10

Bookmaker: 888sport

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