On Thursday night, Belgium will face France in the UEFA Nations League at the Juventus Stadium. The two teams last played in the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, with a Samuel Umtiti header sending Les Blues to the final, which they won.
Despite both Roberto Martinez and Didier Deschamps having poor Euro 2020 campaigns last summer. The same coaches remain in both dugouts. The Belgians were eliminated in the quarter finals by eventual winners Italy, while the French team was eliminated in the round of 16 by Switzerland.
With the spotlight shining brightly on both coaches for different reasons, reaching the Nations League final and subsequently winning it would help to dispel some of the doubt that has been cast on them.
Belgium’s Euro 2020 roster is without strikers Dries Mertens and Jeremy Doku, as well as defender Thomas Vermaelen. But the rest of the old guard returns for boss Roberto Martinez. Eden Hazard has yet to play 90 minutes for Real Madrid this season, although he has appeared in their last five games while he works on his fitness.
Due to N’Golo Kante’s positive Covid-19 test. France will be without the Chelsea midfielder. Nevertheless, Deschamps has three fresh faces in Aurelien Tchouameni, Jordan Veretout, and former Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi as viable alternatives to start with Paul Pogba and Adrien Rabiot.
Karim Benzema, who has been in superb goal-scoring form for Real Madrid this season, has been retained in the squad. Corentin Tolisso and Thomas Lemar were left off the list.
Predictions: Belgium vs France
The Blues won the World Cup by defeating the Red Devils 1-0. But the two teams have had a very different path since then.
Despite the absence of a few key players up front, Roberto Martinez’s team should easily win this match. Belgium 1 France 0