International Friendly: Belgium v Ivory Coast match preview

A look ahead to this week’s international friendly in Brussels

Belgium and the Ivory Coast will meet for the first time in their history on Wednesday night as both countries begin preparations for their World Cup Finals appearance this summer.

The Europeans come into the tie in their worst form of the last two years having been beaten in their last two outings, while the Ivory Coast – boasting the likes of Yaya Toure and the in-form Soloman Kalou – have won  four of their previous six.

The Belgian’s themselves are not short of quality in all areas of the pitch with many of their star names plying their trade here in England, and their seemingly easy qualification for Brazil 2014 has seen them backed as outsiders for a first World Cup triumph.

In Eden Hazard, they have arguably the best young player in the world, along with one of the world’s best centre-backs in Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany.

Wednesday’s tie represents the perfect opportunity for both teams to flex their muscles against high-calibre opposition ahead of their opening World Cup games on June 15 and 17 respectively.

KICK-OFF: Wednesday, 7:45pm

STATS…

Neither country have faced each other in international football in their entire history

Belgium will be making their first appearance at a major tournament in 12 years when Brazil 2014 kicks off

There are 10 Belgians currently playing in the Barclays Premier League, while the Ivory Coast have just three

Belgium have lost their last two in all comps, both to non-European opposition

For the Ivory Coast, it will be their first international match since they triumphed over Senegal in African World Cup qualifiers

ODDS…

Belgium to win: 1.66

Ivory Coast to win: 5.0

Draw: 3.7

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