Belgium will face Russia in the UEFA Euro 2020 group stage on Saturday at the Gazprom Arena.
Both the teams are picked up narrow 1-0 victories against Croatia and Bulgaria respectively in their recent friendlies, so expect the clash to be a closely fought encounter.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the five players to keep an eye on when the two sides face off on Saturday.
Belgium vs Russia: 5 Players To Watch Out
#5 Thibaut Courtois (Belgium)
Real Madrid’s defence conceded 12 more goals last season than the year before. This number could have been even higher if not for Thibaut Courtois who had another great season for the Los Blancos.
The 29-year old amassed 17 clean sheets, just one short of the table-topper Jan Oblak. Hopefully, he will be able to replicate his club’s fine form in goal for Belgium.
#4 Artem Dzyuba (Russia)
The Russian captain has been an influential figure since he got the armband. The 32-year old had a successful campaign where he scored 20 goals and produced 6 assists in 26 league starts for Zenit. He will be the main man for his national side.
The memories of his goals against Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Spain in the 2018 World Cup are still fresh. The Russians will be hoping that their prolific striker can help them to qualify to the next round. A win or a point in this game will lay a foundation for a strong tournament.
#3 Youri Tielemans (Belgium)
Youri Tielemans’ stunning strike against Chelsea in the FA Cup last month helped Leicester City to their first ever FA Cup title.
After a disappointing 2019/20 campaign, the 24-year rejuvenated himself to establish himself as a key player for Brendon Rodgers’ side. Belgium coach Roberto Martinez will hope Tielemans performs for his country as he did for his club.
#2 Aleksandr Golovin (Russia)
The 25-year old midfielder is among the brightest talents in the Russian squad. Golovin featured 21 times for AS Monaco this past season and helped them to secure a third-placed finish. In fact, they were just five points short of lifting the league title.
The midfielder demonstrated his attacking prowess by scoring five goals and assisted nine times. Can the poster boy of Russia football deliver at this big stage?
#1 Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)
The 28-year old striker is in the prime of his career. He proved to be the catalyst for Inter Milan as they won Scudetto for the first time in a decade. Lukaku had a stunning campaign with 24 goals and 11 assists to his name.
He is one of the favourites to win the tournament’s Golden Boot award. Belgium will become a difficult side to stop if he can sustain his red-hot form. In the absence of Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard, the onus will be on Lukaku to grab a vital win against Russia.