Poland vs Belgium: Preview and Prediction
Neither of the teams has looked convincing so far in this competition. Poland has won one, drawn one and lost as many of their first three matches. With four points to their name, Czeslaw Michniewicz’s team is placed in the third position in their group.
Interestingly, like their opposition, Belgium has also experienced all three possible outcomes in their first three matches – win, draw and defeat. However, courtesy of their superior goal difference, Roberto Martinez’s men are occupying the second position at the table.
Though it cannot be told by looking at their position in the standings, Poland indeed has done a pretty decent job in their recent run of fixtures. In their last 12 matches, the Eagles have lost only a couple of outings – against Belgium themselves and Hungary.
They also have played out three stalemates – against the Netherlands, Scotland and England. However, keeping these five fixtures aside, Michniewicz’s team registered seven wins in those 12 fixtures – beating San Marino and Albania twice in the process and Andorra, Sweden and Wales on one occasion each.
On the contrary, Belgium has not looked as threatening in the last few matches as they ideally should with their excellent squad strength. The Red Devils have won only three of their last nine matches – against Estonia, Burkina Faso and Poland.
Besides that, Martinez’s men were restricted to draws on three occasions – twice by Wales and the other time by the Republic of Ireland. They also suffered three defeats – against France, Italy and the Netherlands.
Head to Head Record
The head-to-head records between these two sides are neck-and-neck. Among the 20 previous meetings, both Belgium and Poland won seven matches each, whilst the other six fixtures did not yield a winner.
Having said that, the last meeting saw the Red Devils absolutely demolishing the Eagles, securin a 6-1 defeat in the process. A Leandro Trossard race and goals from Axel Witsel, Kevin De Bruyne, Leander Dendoncker and Lois Openda comprised Belgium’s six goals, while for Poland, Robert Lewandowski was on target.
Michniewicz will have the privilege of having an entirely fit squad to pick his starting XI from, as no Polish player is nursing an injury. He rested many of his star players in the previous match against the Netherlands, but for this outing, we can expect a full-strength team.
First-choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is expected to be back under the sticks for Lukasz Skorupski, while Szymon Zurkowski could be preferred in the role of a holding midfielder ahead of Jacek Goralski. Besides that, Lewandowski is almost certain to make a comeback, with Krzystof Piatek making way for him.
Martinez is not as fortunate as his Polish counterpart, as he is likely to miss the services of between three of five players. Kevin De Bruyne, Yannick Ferreira Carrasco, and Thomas Meunier have been granted early leaves, while Dedryck Boyata and Axel Witsel are nursing niggles.
The veteran defensive pairing of Toby Alderwiereld, and Jan Vertonghen could replace Boyata and Arthur Theate, while in the midfield, Meunier, Witsel and Carrasco could be replaced by Hans Vanaken, Alexis Saelemakers and Thorgan Hazard respectively. Lastly, Eden Hazard could be handed a start in this match in De Bruyne’s absence.
Predicted Starting Lineups
Poland (4-2-3-1): Wojciech Szczesny; Matty Cash, Jan Bedranek, Kamil Glik, Bartosz Bereszynski; Grzegorz Krychowiak, Szymon Zurkowski; Przemyslaw Frankowski, Piotr Zielenski, Nicola Zalewski; Robert Lewandowski..
Belgium (3-4-2-1): Koen Casteels; Leander Dendoncker, Toby Alderwiereld, Jan Vertonghen; Hans Vanaken, Alexis Saelemakers, Youri Tielemans, Thorgan Hazard; Leandro Trossard, Eden Hazard; Michy Batshuayi.
Though head-to-head records suggest this game could be a closely-contested encounter, the previous meeting clearly highlighted the significant gulf in quality between the two times. Hence, we have predicted Belgium to secure all three points in this fixture.