13 October 2019
Kazakhstan and Belgium go head-to-head in the 2020 UEFA European Championship qualifying (ECQ) at the Astana Arena for an encounter that won’t affect the standings regardless of the outcome.
Kazakhstan’s chances of reducing an 11-point gap on second-placed Russia have diminished following back-to-back defeats to Russia and Cyprus. The hosts have pulled off just two triumphs in seven ECQ fixtures (W2, D1, L4), both of which have come on home soil and witnessed the Hawks score 3+ match goals and keep a clean sheet. However, Michal Bílek’s men have failed to preserve a clean slate in five of their last six qualifiers, allowing over 1.5 match goals three times in the process. Also, they’ve drawn a blank on three occasions in the same period, scoring one goal precisely in two of the remaining three matches.
Meanwhile, the visitors have mathematically secured their spot in the final continental tournament with a 9-0 demolition of San Marino at home last time out. Comfortably sitting at the top of Group I as the only team to win all seven ECQ fixtures, the Belgians are favorites to stretch their unbeaten run in H2Hs with Kazakhstan to six games (W3, D2). Rampant Roberto Martinez’s side has netted 28 goals in the qualifying so far, scoring three or more goals in six of seven victories. Furthermore, they’ve conceded just one goal, in the group opener against Russia (3-1), and are yet to allow a goal away from home.
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