World Cup Soccer Betting: Belgium vs. Russia

World Cup Soccer Betting:  Belgium vs. Russia

The perceived top two teams in Group H will do battle on Sunday as Belgium takes on Russia at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro. Belgium had a tougher than expected time with Algeria in their opening game while the Russians had to settle for a tie with South Korea. Both sides are still alive to advance to the knockout stages and this is a crucial game toward that effort for each team.

Belgium was definitely ‘off their game’ early in the match against Algeria. Algerian midfielder Feghouli scored on a penalty to give his team a 1-0 advantage that stood through the halftime break. In the second half the superior Belgian talent was evident and they scrapped out a pair of goals to salvage a hard fought 2-1 victory. Belgium failed to convert on several late opportunities to pad that lead and they need to realize those kinds of ‘missed chances’ against Russia will be fatal. They’ll need to play much better against a very talented–though sometimes careless–Russia side.

Russia was in many ways its own worst enemy against South Korea. The South Koreans are a decent enough team known for solid defensive and tactical soundness–but they’re offensively inept. Unfortunately, Russia gave them a leg up by gifting them a goal when Igor Akinfeev muffed a routine save. That was South Korea’s first goal in almost three games but Russia eventually pulled level to salvage a point in a game where they expected to take all three. Russia plays intense, aggressive football which often results in mistakes and that could be their undoing against Belgium. It’s hard for them to find the proper balance–they need to come up with intensity if they’re going to compete but they can’t play out of control.

Both teams want to improve upon their showing in the previous contest and the simple reality is that Belgium is the more talented side. Even if they’re not ‘on their game’ Russia will likely give them enough counterstrike opportunities to earn the victory. If Belgium’s first game jitters carry over here they could be in trouble but we don’t see that happening and like them to win a fairly competitive game.