UEFA EURO 2020 Qualifiers
Belgium v Scotland
Tuesday, 11 June 2019, kick-off 7.45pm (UK time)
King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels
Scotland will be looking to spring a surprise on the world’s best international team on Tuesday night, as they travel to Brussels for their latest UEFA EURO 2020 Qualifier.
After Saturday evening’s late show clinched a 2-1 victory over Cyprus at Hampden Park, Steve Clarke’s side know a tough test lies in store against the 2018 FIFA World Cup semi-finalists.
Belgium currently top Group I after a perfect start to the campaign, with Scotland behind second-placed Russia only on goal difference after two wins and a defeat from their opening three matches.
With competing at Hampden in a major tournament a tantalising prospect for Scotland’s players, the race to secure a top-two position in the group and a place at UEFA EURO 2020 is well and truly on.
Knowing a squad filled with world-class talents lies in wait, however, Clarke’s men know that they will have to be at the very top of their game against the number one-ranked side in men’s football.
Steve Clarke is able to select from the same group of players that showed great resilience in the win against Cyprus, a match which saw just over 31,000 file into the home of Scottish football for the former Kilmarnock manager’s first match in charge of the national team.
Following his match-winning intervention off the bench against Cyprus, Oli Burke will be amongst those pushing for a place in Tuesday night’s starting lineup.
Fellow substitutes Scott McTominay and Stuart Armstrong could well give Clarke a difficult selection decision after impressing in their cameos against Cyprus, with the midfield having been a strength overall for Scotland on Saturday night
Greg Taylor, Stuart Findlay and Liam Kelly will all be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Eamonn Brophy by making their Scotland debuts in Brussels, whilst Tom Cairney could make his competitive debut at the King Baudouin Stadium.
The team will once again be captained by Andy Robertson, scorer of the opening goal in the win over Cyprus.
The good vibes continue... big win tonight!! 🏴💙 pic.twitter.com/DjTjNfMgCk— Andrew Robertson (@andrewrobertso5) 8 June 2019
Belgium manager Roberto Martinez has a wealth of options at his disposal as he looks to preserve his side’s 100% record in the group thus far, with ten of his squad plying their trade in the English Premier League.
Eden Hazard will lead the team after winning his 101st cap against Kazakhstan on Saturday, the newly-signed Real Madrid attacker one of a glittering array of stars on show.
Romelu Lukaku and Kevin de Bruyne will also be amongst the attacking weapons available to Martinez, whilst the likes of Vincent Kompany and Thibaut Courtois will be aiming to keep Scotland quiet at the other end.
Scotland manager Steve Clarke: “There were a lot of good things in our performance against Cyprus, along with a few elements we know we have to get better at ahead of the Belgium match. You can’t change the world in seven training sessions, but I thought our shape was good – we possibly over-committed at times, but that comes from a desire and a need to get the three points.”
Scotland midfielder Kenny McLean: “We know how tough it’s going to be. I think you could see the organisation we’ve got [against Cyprus] though – we’ll make it tough for them and we’ve got the players at the top end of the pitch that can hurt anybody.”
Where will the game be played?
With a capacity of 50,000, the King Baudouin Stadium will host Scotland for the first time since 2012 (pictured below) on Tuesday night.
Built in 1930, the historic venue has been a long-standing host of Belgian national team fixtures throughout its existence, save for a decade-long period between 1985 and 1995. The stadium was one of the selected venues for UEFA EURO 2000, hosting each of Belgium’s three group matches in addition to Italy’s quarter-final win over Romania and eventual champions France’s extra-time triumph over Portugal in the semi-finals.
Away from football, the Brussels arena has played host to concerts from artists such as Bruce Springsteen and Beyonce, with Metallica set to play at the venue this coming weekend.
How has Belgium fared recently?
The top-ranked side in the FIFA World Rankings, Belgium sit atop Group I with three wins from their opening three qualifiers.
The Red Devils began their qualifying campaign with a 3-1 win over Russia in Brussels, a brace from Eden Hazard settling matters after Youri Tielemans’ opener had been cancelled out.
Hazard was on target once more just three days later, with Michy Batshuayi also finding the net in a 2-0 victory away to Cyprus.
Martinez’s men returned to Brussels on Saturday night with a comfortable 3-0 dispatching of Kazakhstan at the King Baudouin Stadium, as Romelu Lukaku added to early strikes from Dries Mertens and Timothy Castagne to maintain Belgium’s undefeated record.
💯 🧢 🇧🇪— UEFA (@UEFA) 8 June 2019
Quite the week for @hazardeden10 😉
Before tonight’s Euro Qualifiers match against Kazakhstan, he picked up a commemorative cap to mark his 100th appearance for @BelRedDevils.
Welcome to the #100CapsClub, Eden pic.twitter.com/2hY4uF7m7m
Who should Scotland be looking out for?
With one of the most electrifying squads in world football, Belgium are capable of carving any team open in the blink of an eye.
Manchester United striker Lukaku is his country’s all-time leading goal-scorer, with 46 goals from his 80 international appearances to date.
The ever-dangerous Mertens – equally capable playing as a striker as he is in midfield – provides a potent attacking threat, whilst the talents of Yannick Carrasco can occasionally go unnoticed amongst such a plethora of talent.
In defence, too, the Red Devils can boast quality aplenty. Paris Saint-Germain full-back Thomas Meunier was one of the standout performers at last summer’s FIFA World Cup in Russia, with Champions League finalist Toby Alderweireld providing a commanding presence in front of Thibaut Courtois’ goal.
How to follow the match
Scotland supporters can watch the match live on Sky Sports on Tuesday night, with BBC Radio Scotland also offering live commentary. Kick-off is scheduled for 7.45pm (UK time).