Greece vs Belgium
Greece disappointed a lot last time out, when everyone thought they were heading for easier three pointer in front of own crowd, the side took just a point in a goalless game last Thursday evening against Estonia. They were far more superior side during the match, had much more of the ball possession and chances created, however the scoreline never changed.
Estonians were forced to play very passively, doing almost nothing in attack, while the Greeks missed those crucial chances that would make their lives much more easier during the match. They continued being second, having two points more than Bosnian side that lost away to Cyprus and the circumstances in previous round are going into their favor for sure for now. This way they recorded second consecutive match without a goal scored, fifth official game without a victory (one defeat in four draws) and need to revert the things badly in front of very important match against Belgium.
In comparison to previous few call-ups, Greeks won't be counting at retired defender Jose Holebas (38/1, Watford) and forward Nikos Karelis (17/2, Genk). Forward Mitroglou and full back Torosidis are highly doubtful for this one. Central defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos could be back after serving suspension.
Belgium, on the other side, had an easy walkover last Thursday evening when the team demolished Gibraltar with 9:0 result, despite the fact that they played for more than fourty minutes with a man less since Witsel was red carded before the first halftime whistle. They opened up the game in the best possible manner, taking the 6:0 lead during the first halftime, thanks to goals from Meunier, Mertens, Lukaku (twice), Witsel, Hazard, while Meunier netted two more in second halftime and Lukaku sealed the victory with a goal in 84th minute from the penalty kick fro the final 9:0 outcome.
Despite lowering down the tempo in the second halftime, they remained being better on the field and still were very threatening against side that is obviously classes below them. It was third consecutive victory for them, and the side now has a chance to assure themselves at first position, having now six points more than second placed Greece and in case of a victory, they would be getting the direct ticket for Russia 2018 already.
Defenders Nicolas Lombaerts (38/3, Oostende) and Sebastien Pocognoli (13/0, Standard Liege) and midfielder Radja Nainggolan (28/6, Roma) won't be part of the team this time. Midfielder Axel Witsel is suspended now.
Greeks are having some individual quality, no question about it, but it was obvious that the players of Belgium were more quality side back in March this year and they are surely in way better form, especially in offensive part of the game. They create and score much more easier than the Greeks and I would be really surprised to see anything but away side securing their ticket for Russia in this one.