With domestic football back under way across the globe, the first international break is upon us. Belgium will be looking to get back to winning ways after being dumped out of Euro 2020 in the quarter-finals by eventual winners Italy. Belgium’s golden generation is aging and Roberto Martinez’ side may have one last chance at winning a major trophy before some of the most talented players in the world are past their best.
With Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard now into their 30s and struggling with injury problems in recent years, two of their most creative players may be entering their final years operating at the highest level. They also have cause for concern in their backline, as veteran defenders Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Thomas Vermaelen are all approaching the end of their successful careers.
The 2022 World Cup could be the final roll of the dice for the Belgians, and they’ll be hoping to get through the qualifying stages unscathed as they seek to prove themselves as the rightful number one world ranking.
Estonia vs Belgium Preview
Despite having lost their opening two World Cup qualifiers, conceding 10 goals in the process, Estonia have shown some better form of late and have a couple of players that Belgium need to keep an eye on in order to avoid a shock result.
Forward Henri Anier will be the main goal threat for the Estonians, having found the net three times in the first two qualifiers. He sits among the top five goalscorers in the World Cup Qualifiers thus far, having scored the same number as the likes of Diogo Jota and Robert Lewandowski. He was also a key factor in his country’s upturn in international form, scoring the only goal in Estonia’s Baltic Cup opener against Lithuania.
He will likely be partnered by Rauno Sappinen, who has been in sublime form for his club this campaign, netting 14 times in 18 games – form which has helped his side to third place in the Meistriliiga. Although they have goals in their forwards, manager Karel Voolaid will have to find a way of tightening his team’s defences if they stand any chance of taking points off a strong Belgium side.
Odds and Betting Tips
One-hundred-and nine places separate Estonia from the world number one ranking, so there are no surprises when it comes to betting on the underdogs. If you think they can pull off a shock result with the home advantage in this World Cup Qualifier you can back Estonia to win @ 30.00, or snatch a point @ 15.00. If you like the look of Estonia going forward, you can bet on Sappinen to score at any time @ 9.50.
Martinez will almost certainly be looking to hand out opportunities to youngsters given their strong position in the group and the gulf in quality between them and Estonia. The likes of the Hazard brothers, Lukaku and Tielemans are all in the squad, but will be unlikely to feature in all three games which come in quick succession. This will give Club Brugge teammates Hans Vanaken and Charles de Ketelaere the chance to prove themselves on the international stage ahead of the World Cup in Qatar. We may also see promising midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga handed his first senior cap following his high profile move from Anderlecht to Arsenal.
We expect Martinez to stick with his tried and tested three man defence considering Belgium only conceded in two out of five games at the 2020 Euros. Although Estonia have some talent going forward, they have leaked goals at the back in this competition and if Belgium get in front early, they could have a field day.
The visitors are heavy favourites for this one, and for good reason. If you feel like adding them to your international accumulator, you can back them to win @ 1.08 or to win to zero @ 1.44. If you are feeling confident in Belgium’s depth and less so in Estonia’s defence, why not take a look at our specials. We’ve picked Belgium to win 4-0, 5-0 or 6-0 @ 3.00.
There is plenty to be excited about for Belgian fans, and although the golden generation may be on the decline, new talent is constantly emerging across Europe and in the Pro League which could provide the Red Devils with success for years to come. First things first, winning their World Cup Qualifier against Estonia!