Belgium is one of the most overrated teams competing in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil but the same comment also applies to Russia, its primary rival for first place in Group H.
One remains unconvinced that Belgium will make a deep 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil run but the Red Devils are the best side in Group H and they can prove it by beating Russia at odds of 1.95 with several bookmakers, including Ladbrokes, Unibet and Youwin, for the Rio de Janeiro showdown.
Russia is unbeaten in its last 11 matches but its schedule has been soft as a marshmallow with its toughest assignment being an away game against Norway, a match that it drew 1-1 despite getting off to a flying start through Oleg Shatov in the third minute. Russia was unimpressive in its 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group H opener versus South Korea, a game that was difficult to watch as a neutral observer.
Belgium made it four wins on the bounce when it came from behind to defeat 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group H rival Algeria 2-1. Belgium is a fair way from being the finished article so talk of this golden generation of Red Devils winning the tournament is ludicrous but they should reach the round of 16 as the winners of a second-rate section.
One has a couple of statistical ways to compare Belgium and Russia. First, Belgium and Russia have played two of the same teams since the start of 2013 – Serbia and Slovakia – and the results support the Red Devils being the better side. And second, Belgium beat Russia 2-0 in a Voreonezh friendly match four years ago. Romelo Lukaku scored goals either side of half time to fire Belgium to victory and one would say that the Red Devils have improved since 2010.
Belgium is fair odds to beat Russia in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group H clash but, if one want to increase one’s potential return, backing the Red Devils to win to nil is a logical option. Russia has looked short of ideas in many of its recent games without Roman Shirokov and, once it fell behind against South Korea, it looked like curtains. Belgium is available at odds of 3.20 with Betfred and Sportingbet to defeat Russia and keep a clean sheet to boot.
Algeria gained more new admirers than South Korea in their respective 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group H openers, with the Fennec Foxes leading Belgium for 45 minutes and the Taegeuk Warriors indebted to Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev’s howler for its one goal and one point.
South Korea’s pre-2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil results were terrible, it was the poorer of two poor teams first up in Cuiaba and yet bookmakers have installed it at short odds versus Algeria. The one and only recent collateral form line, which involves Tunisia, favours Algeria over South Korea so one thinks that the Fennec Foxes are the clear value call at odds of 3.40 with many bookmakers, including Bet365, Betfred and BetVictor, to take down the Taegeuk Warriors in a match that both sides really need to win.
Finally, Portugal is odds on across the board to get its 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil campaign back on the rails with a Group F win over the United States of America. When all is said and done, losing to Germany need not be the end of the world for Portugal since back-to-back victories over Ghana and the United States of America would probably earn it a place in the knockout stages. The United States of America was lucky not to lose to Ghana – it won 2-1 with early and late goals – so Portugal is a fair bet at odds of 1.73 with several bookmakers, including Coral, Sky Bet and William Hill, to put itself in contention for the round of 16.
Belgium to beat Russia (to nil)
22nd June 17:00 GMT
Odds: 1.95 (3.20)
Where to Bet: Ladbrokes, Unibet, Youwin, Betfred
Algeria to beat South Korea
22nd June 20:00 GMT
Where to Bet: Bet365, Betfred, BetVictor
Portugal to beat USA
22nd June 23:00 GMT
Where to Bet: Coral, Sky Bet, William Hil
Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.
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