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WC Qualification Europe

  • 16 October 2012
  • • 19:45
  • • Stade Roi Baudouin, Bruxelles (Brussel)
  • Referee: T. Hagen
  • • Attendance: 44132

Belgium - Scotland Preview: Wilmots' team seek retention of top spot

Belgium - Scotland Preview: Wilmots' team seek retention of top spot


The hosts are fresh off an impressive 3-0 victory over Serbia but still have Croatia breathing down their necks as they prepare to face Craig Levein's struggling side



Alderweireld, Kompany, Vermaelen, Vertonghen
Witsel, Dembele
Chadli, De Bruyne, Hazard


Hutton, Berra, Caldwell, Fox
Maloney, D Fletcher, Adam, Commons
S Fletcher

Dries Mertens will continue to push for a place in the Belgium team but Marc Wilmots could be tempted to stick with the line-up which recorded an impressive 3-0 victory over Serbia.

Kevin de Bruyne shone in that game and is likely to continue through the middle, while Christian Benteke will start up front in the absence of Romelu Lukaku.

Marouane Fellaini is also injured and Simon Mignolet looks unlikely to unseat Thibaut Courtois and go up against Sunderland team-mate Steven Fletcher.

Scotland are without Scott Brown (hip), who was substituted at half-time in the 2-1 defeat against Wales. Don Cowie has come into the squad but Charlie Adam is likely to start alongside Darren Fletcher.

James Forrest (groin), meanwhile, did not recover in time to travel to Brussels. Jordan Rhodes and Robert Snodgrass had already pulled out of the squad and Steven Naismith is suspended.

  • Belgium have not qualified for a major international tournament since the World Cup in 2002, but lead Group A having collected seven points from their first three matches.
  • Marc Wilmots' (pictured right) team are currently edging out Croatia, who face Wales at home, on goal difference.
  • There are 10 Premier League players in the Belgium squad, of which eight featured in the starting XI against Serbia on Friday.
  • Timmy Simons, of Nurnberg, is the most-capped player in Wilmots' group, having appeared 91 times for his country, but he did not start in Belgrade.
  • Scotland could find themselves bottom of Group A if they lose and Macedonia, who currently prop up the table, avoid defeat against Serbia.
  • Friday's defeat against Wales made Craig Levein statistically the worst Scotland manager in 58 years. The former Dundee United boss has won only three of his 11 competitive matches in charge for a 27 per cent win rate.
  • Levein has so far beaten only Liechtenstein (twice) and Lithuania in qualifiers but has fared considerably better in friendly matches, seeing off the likes of the Czech Republic and Denmark.
  • No Scotland player besides Kenny Miller, who came off the bench against Wales, has scored more than five international goals. The Vancouver Whitecaps forward has struck 17 times.

Players to watch

K. De Bruyne

Position: Midfielder

Games: 1

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The Chelsea midfielder, who is on loan this season at Werder Bremen, turned in an impressive display in what was something of a coming of age for Belgium in Serbia, setting up Christian Benteke's opening goal before notching one of his own to double the visitors' lead. Scotland will be wary of the threat posed by Eden Hazard but they will be wise not to ignore a man who looks set to star alongside the former Lille player for club and country.

D. Fletcher

Position: Midfielder

Games: 1

  • 0
  • 0
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With their qualification campaign all but over after just three games, the Manchester United midfielder will need to lead by example in the heart of midfield if Craig Levein is to keep his job for much longer. Fletcher never plays without determination but his attitude will need to spread if Scotland are to hold off superior opposition given the current mood of pessimism around the national team.

Editor's Prediction

Belgium's 'golden generation' recorded one of their most impressive results so far by seeing off Serbia and it is difficult to see them struggling to collect another three points here. Scotland's late loss to Wales was a devastating blow and Levein has a serious task on his hands in raising morale enough to at least stay competitive between now and the end of an already doomed qualification campaign.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head




Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Belgium BEL
Belgium Belgium
Scotland SCO
Scotland Scotland

Top 3 Predictions

Belgium BEL
3 - 0
Scotland SCO
Belgium BEL
2 - 0
Scotland SCO
Belgium BEL
2 - 1
Scotland SCO