17 November 2019
Russia and Belgium go head-to-head in the 2020 UEFA European Championship Qualifying (ECQ) at the Gazprom Arena. Both nations have already clinched their places in the next summer’s tournament, and the outcome of this match can only help to decide the winners of Group I.
After a 3-1 away defeat to Belgium at the beginning of their qualifying campaign, the hosts have racked up a seven-game winning streak, allowing just one goal across those fixtures. What’s more, the Sbornaya have bagged 4+ match goals in four of those victories, including their last two wins over Scotland at home and Cyprus on the road. Since exiting the World Cup, Stanislav Cherchesov’s side has established as a force to be reckoned with when playing at home, as they’ve won six of seven post-tournament home matches, friendlies included (W6, D1). Additionally, six of their previous competitive home games have been accompanied by a clean sheet, with Russia scoring over 1.5 goals in three of those fixtures.
The visitors have a three-point lead over second-placed Russia, having won all eight of their previous qualifying fixtures. While seven of those triumphs saw Belgium shut out their opponents, six have witnessed them score at least three goals. Indeed, only one nation has netted more goals than De Rode Duivels in the ongoing qualifying campaign (30), but none has shipped fewer goals (1). Since a disastrous 5-2 loss to Switzerland in the UEFA Nations League back in November 2018, Roberto Martinez’s men have not conceded a single goal in four of their subsequent road trips, scoring 2+ match goals in each.
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