France endured a disappointing Euro 2020 campaign as the pre-tournament favourites crashed out in the first knockout round on penalties to Switzerland, despite leading by two goals with 10 minutes to go in normal time.
They haven’t quite recovered yet with a pair of stalemates against Bosnia and Ukraine in World Cup qualifiers during September, though did round off the last international break with a much-needed win over Finland.
That still leaves them with just a single victory in six appearances however, but the 2018 World Cup winners remain a huge threat with a stellar squad to draw upon.
Wide men Kingsley Coman and Ousmane Dembele are unavailable to Didier Deschamps, but with the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Karim Benzema in the squad, they’re hardly short on firepower.
However, while Benzema’s fine goalscoring record at Real Madrid continues, with eight strikes for Real Madrid since the last international break, Griezmann has only netted once for Atletico Madrid and Mbappe’s last goal came nearly a month ago.
Elsewhere, N’Golo Kante is Les Bleus’ only notable absentee having recently tested positive for covid, which can have a knock-on effect with Paul Pogba enjoying the defensive cover he brings.
Both Teams To Score
On paper, Belgium’s results in recent times make for pleasant reading, winning 14 of their past 17 and losing just once, as that came in a narrow defeat to eventual Euro 2020 champions Italy.
However, time is running out for their golden generation to deliver and especially in defence, where Vincent Kompany is long retired, Thomas Vermaelen 35-years-old and not included in this squad, Jan Vertonghen now 34 and Toby Alderweireld the youngest of the bunch at 32.
Key trio Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku remain integral to Belgium’s efforts, though the Man City midfielder hasn’t been at his stellar best since returning to fitness.
There are far bigger concerns over Eden Hazard, who continues to struggle for game time at Real Madrid, managing just a single assist and no goals in the current campaign for his club side.
Lukaku rarely fails to deliver for the national side, but even he has seen his form dip slightly after a blistering start for Chelsea, failing to score in his last four starts.
Although both sides entertain question marks surrounding their best attacking players, there’s still good reason to think that they’ll both register on the board here.
France’s only clean sheet from their past six appearances came against Finland, a problem only likely to be exacerbated by Kante’s absence, while they’ve only failed to score in two of their past 27 fixtures dating back to June 2019.
With Benzema in fine form at club level, Griezmann bagging eight goals for France in 2021 so far and Mbappe’s pace likely to be a problem for an ageing backline, there should be plenty of action at both ends of the field.
BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE