Belgium v Russia

Russia will make a trip to the Heysel Stadium to take on Belgium as these two teams battle in the opening clash of the Euro 2020 qualifying rounds. Thursday’s match between these two is one of the standout fixtures featuring two sides that proceeded to the last eight at the 2018 World Cup.

The visitors exited that round on penalties, while the hosts managed to advance to the last four before suffering a loss in the hands of ultimate victors France. Furthermore, both teams will be entering this match, looking to bounce back after losing their most recent fixtures.

Belgium are in a convincing form at the moment. They have been victorious in three of their past five fixtures, losing and drawing one during that period. Moreover, they were able to dominate Iceland by three goals in a UEFA Nationals League fixture on the road. However, they missed out on a place in the semi-finals when they suffered a 5-2 lost in the hands of Switzerland.

Roberto Martinez and his men are just behind France and Spain the betting for the Euro 2020 crown. They’re also striving with Germany and England to be regarded as the best.

On the other hand, Russia have performed convincingly ever since their World Cup performance. They managed two victories, one draw, as well as two losses in their previous five matches since then. However, they failed to notch a goal in three of those.

Russia also encountered a disappointing Nations League campaign when they failed to advance in the next round when they were beaten 2-0 by Sweden.

Belgium have been quite firm in terms of their defence so far this season. With a home advantage as well as a solid line-up, it looks like a victory is on the cards for the Belgians.

Austria v Poland

Austria will host Poland at the Ernst Happel Stadion to begin their qualifying campaign in the Euro 2020 on Thursday. Both sides boast remarkable and talented players; however, both teams showed poor performance during the 2018 World Cup with the visitors failing to make an impression and the hosts failing to qualify. Furthermore, neither team is in fine form at the moment.

Fortunately for the hosts, their form has improved since their World Cup campaign. They managed to win eight, drew one, and lost three of their 12 fixtures since then. These impressive wins included matches against Germany, Russia, and Uruguay.

Poland, on the other hand, are struggling. Even though they managed to advance to Russia in the World Cup, their failures in the group stages against Senegal and Colombia made their campaign a short one. Things haven’t improved for Jerzy Brzeczek’s men since then. They haven’t won a single match in their six fixtures. The drew with Italy, Ireland, and Portugal and lost all three of their matches at home.

Things aren’t going for the better for the visitors since they will be up against an Austrian side who managed to keep a clean sheet in five of their past seven matches at home. Poland shouldn’t be underestimated though since they will be led by Robert Lewandowski, who is currently dominating the Bundesliga goal-scoring charts.

Netherlands v Belarus

Netherlands will welcome Belarus to the De Kuip for their Euro 2020 qualifiers face-off on Thursday. The hosts will be coming into the game in confident spirits after dominating the Group 1 in the Nations League ahead of France and Germany.

Netherlands will begin their campaign aiming to qualify for their first ever major summer competition since the 2014 World Cup. Things are looking up for the hosts ever since they missed out on the Euro 2016 three years ago after a disappointing qualifying campaign. They followed that with another poor performance when they failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

This is the perfect opportunity for Ronald Koeman and his men to secure the victory against a Belarus side who have yet to qualify for a major competition. The Dutch outfit achieved a tally of 8 victories in nine of their outings across all competitions. They’ve been consistent in scoring goals and their solid line-up should pose as a threat to their opponents.

Despite having little experience in big tournaments, Belarus managed to cruise past tough rivals on several occasions. They will enter this match in quite a good mood as well following their impressive performance in the Nations League group stages which led them to get promoted from the bottom level.  

However, Netherlands are by far the greater side between these two especially with the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Memphis Depay, and Georginio Wijnaldum leading the team to victory. It’s going to be an entertaining match between these two, but the cards seem to favour the hosts.  

By @EliaasMJ

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