Belgium and Croatia are both looking for a big performance in their final warm-up fixture for Euro 2020. The two countries will hope to be very much in the mix at this summer’s showpiece, with a strong showing on Sunday only serving to build some momentum.
Where and when: King Baudouin Stadium – 6 June, kick-off 19:45
Where you can see Belgium vs. Croatia: Sky Sports
Last time: Romelu Lukaku bagged a first-half brace as Belgium beat Croatia 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier back in 2013 in Zagreb.
Belgium v Croatia Predictions and Preview
As the two countries who finished second and third at the last World Cup, Belgium and Croatia will both want to make their mark at Euro 2020. However, one country is in much better shape than the other, heading into this friendly encounter at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels.
Belgium may still be searching for their first ever major trophy, but they’re still the number one-ranked team in the FIFA rankings. It’s been some rise after being down in 66th in 2009, an upturn brought about by the emergence of a golden generation of talent.
Led by the likes of captain Eden Hazard and vice-captain Kevin De Bruyne, coach Roberto Martinez is sweating on the fitness of those two key players coming into this tournament. The latter is set to miss out on this game after suffering facial fractures in Manchester City’s Champions League final defeat to Chelsea.
Martinez can still call on quality players such as Hazard, Lukaku and Youri Tielemans, as well as Dries Mertens, Axel Witsel and Yannick Carrasco. This is a seriously good group of players, and the Red Devils will start these Belgium v Croatia predictions as the favourites in the betting. The Belgians have only lost one of their last 21 matches, against England in the Nations League, winning 18.
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Belgium to win and BTTS
Belgium to win 2-1
Lukaku to score first
The visitors are the underdogs, even if they went one better than Belgium at the 2018 World Cup in reaching the final. However, they haven’t been the same since, and suffering a new low in drawing 1-1 with Armenia in their first Euro 2020 warm-up fixture on Tuesday.
Zlatko Dalic’s side still have plenty of talent in their ranks, not least in the shape of Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic and Mateo Kovacic. They have lost Ivan Rakitic to retirement since the World Cup though, while the Kockasti have only won two of their last eight fixtures, losing four.
These teams shared a 1-1 draw the last time they played each other at this stadium in Brussels, back in World Cup 2014 qualifying. Avoiding defeat by drawing again would have to be seen as a positive result for Croatia ahead of their Euro 2020 opener against England, but doing so is going to be very tough for the Vatreni.
One to watch for Belgium: Romelu Lukaku netted a brace the last time these countries met. Nearly eight years on, the Inter Milan striker is his country’s record goalscorer and the favourite to break the deadlock in this game.
One to watch for Croatia: Ivan Perisic won his 100th cap in Croatia’s shock draw with Armenia on Tuesday. He also netted his 28th international goal in the process, and will need to be at his best against the Belgians here.
Long shot: Belgium’s last two victories over Croatia have both been by 2-1 scorelines. The same result in these Belgium v Croatia tips is well worth a look, while you can increase the odds on that by adding Lukaku as the first scorer once again.