Roberto Martinez’s Red Devils are in Russia without Kevin De Bruyne or Axel Witsel, but they still have plenty of firepower in the first of two games in this Group B, with Denmark also ready to host Belgium in front of their own fans in Copenhagen.
That will complicate what should otherwise be a straight-forward group for Belgium, with Finland completing the quartet.
Belgium’s qualification campaign was sensational, scoring 40 and conceding just three, with a perfect ten wins from their ten games, that momentum has carried through despite the postponement of the tournament due to Covid-19, with 12 wins from 16 matches (three draws and just one loss).
Thibaut Courtois meanwhile has played down any concerns about a Covid-19 outbreak, following Russia midfielder Andrei Mostovoy testing positive for the virus and being replaced in the squad by defender Roman Yevgenyev on Friday, adding to breakouts in the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden squads.
“It is not something that frightens us. It is something that has happened a lot over the last season in many leagues,” said the Real Madrid goalkeeper. “We are kind of used to that. It is unfortunate for them but I think we are protected and I don’t think we have a problem with that. When you play against a team that you’ve already played previously, you know them a little better. You know their weak points a little better and that’s always a good thing, although I suppose it could also count against you the other way round. But we know each other well and we are again well prepared for tomorrow.
“The first match, everyone may still play with the handbrake on, so as not to give anything away, especially defensively. But I hope we will play well from the kick off tomorrow. We play in Russia. We have already won here and hopefully we do it again and it becomes the start of a good month.”
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