Belgium vs Russia: World Cup 2014 match preview

A look ahead to the second fixture of Group H

Belgium are set to face Russia at the Maracana stadium where both teams are looking to gain a substantial advantage at a very open group. The Belgians will be looking for a win that will definitely send them to the next round but anything less could set Group H on fire.

LIVE: Follow the latest news from Russia v Belgium

The Red Devils’ manager Marc Wilmots is expected to make a few changes in his starting line-up after his side struggled to beat Algeria. Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini is expected to start instead of Tottenham Hotspur’s Nacer Chadli and Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen could replace Daniel Van Buyten.

Captain Vincent Kompany is suffering from a minor groin strain and it is unclear whether Wilmots will start another striker or maintain trust on Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku who was ineffective last week.

Russia failed to impress against South Korea and a blunder by goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev almost cost them the match. Eventually, Zenit striker Aleksandr Kerzhakov bailed his side out and might have earned himself a spot at Fabio Capello’s starting line-up.

KICK-OFF: Sunday, 5pm

PAST THREE MEETINGS:

Russia 0 Belgium 2 (Lukaku 2), International Friendly, November 2010

Belgium 3 (Walem, Sonck, Wilmots) Russia 2 (Beschastnykh, Sychev), World Cup, June 2002

Belgium 0 Russia 0, International Friendly, April 1996

STATS:

Russia have never beaten Belgium whereas the latter have won two out of their three meetings.

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has never experienced international defeat but has instead contributed in 11 wins and seven draws. Atletico Madrid’s on-loan stopper kept 10 clean sheets in 18 matches.

Belgium have only won two of their last 10 World Cup matches and lost three. They have only kept one clean sheet in the same amount of games.

The Red Devils are undefeated in their last two World Cup group stages, which took place in 1998 and 2002.

Russia have scored all of their last eight World Cup goals after half-time.

Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev’s blunder last week took place on the same day, just a few hours earlier, as Rob Green’s gaffe four years ago when Fabio Capello was his manager.

ODDS:

Belgium to win: Evens

Russia to win: 16.5

Draw: 5.2

TV: Live on BBC One at 5pm

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform