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Having been shocked by 116th ranked Estonia prior to the start of the tournament, Finland obviously had a few heads turning following their victory over Denmark in the opener.
However, the Christian Eriksen situation very much masked that result and certainly had an impact on the Danish players so we wouldn’t look into that too much.
In fact, that result together with their friendly victory over a second string French team back in November, are their only such victories over that calibre of opposition in the last decade, losing eight of their 11 other winless outings, as all their defeats finished either 1-0, 2-0, 2-1 or 3-0.
Belgium have already qualified for the knockouts after they beat Denmark on Thursday night, but that certainly wasn’t an easy victory.
Trailing 1-0 at the break it was the introduction of Kevin De Bruyne in the second half that changed the game.
The Man City playmaker proved his class, providing the assist for the equaliser and blasting a left footed shot into the bottom corner of the net for the winner and to dig his side out of a tricky situation.
They’ll still be cautious that they need at least a point in this game to secure top spot, but that should be too difficult with the player Roberto Martinez has at his disposal.
The Fins will know that goal difference could play a crucial role in their chances of reaching the knockouts, even if head-to-heads will be the first port of call for teams level on points.
However, it’s hard to ignore the fact that they’ve lost five of their last eight matches now, as their sole victory came over the Danes following that tragic incident.
Belgium -1.5 Asian Handicap
Since Markku Kanerva was appointed as manager at the start of 2017, 69% of their qualifying and tournament matches have seen fewer than three goals, including seven of their last 10.
Their only other two games against a top-10 side have come against Italy, losing 2-0 on the road and 2-1 at Tampere Stadium.
However, the Azzurri are renowned for keeping things tight, and given the Fins lost to all of Poland (5-1), Wales (3-1), Switzerland (3-2) and Sweden (2-0) to name a few of the other big teams they’ve faced since October, we wouldn’t bank on this one being low scoring.
The Red Devils have won 31 of their 38 matches since the start of the 2018 World Cup, only losing once to France and England, and considering 74% of their victories came by more than two strikes, the handicap looks reasonable.
Romelu Lukaku To Score Anytime
A lot depends on who Martinez decides to start. We’d imagine he may try and rotate the likes of Eden Hazard in to try and get him some game time, but on the whole he’ll likely keep things similar.
With that in mind, we can’t help but fancy the chances Romelu Lukaku to get on the scoreboard. He has 10 goals in as many appearances for his country dating back to November, netting a goal every 86 minutes.