Belgium got their Euro 2016 campaign off the ground as the Red Devils recorded a resounding 3-0 victory against Republic of Ireland on Saturday. After suffering defeat at the hands of Italy in their opening group match, the pressure was on Marc Wilmots’ men but they delivered in spectacular style and, as a consequence, Belgium once again have their fate in their own hands ahead of their final Group E fixture against Sweden.
The favourites require just a single point from their meeting with Erik Hamren’s men to be assured of a place alongside the Azzurri in the last 16 of the competition.
Belgium, though, can be backed at 17/20 (1.85) with bet365 to secure their place in the knockout stages in style by picking up all three points from Wednesday’s clash, while the odds compilers offer 12/5 (3.40) that the two teams settle for a share of the spoils.
Sweden have failed to progress past the group stages in three of their last four appearances at the European Championships and, having picked up just a solitary point from their two group games thus far in France, a similar fate seems the most likely outcome once again. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has declared that he will retire from international football at the end of the tournament and the bookmakers certainly believe this could well be his final appearance for the national team.
Hamren’s men must beat Belgium if they are to stand any realistic chance of reaching the last 16, with bet365 offering a chunky 17/4 (5.25) that Sweden pick up the vital victory that they require if they are to prolong their stay in the competition.
Sweden qualified for this tournament after Ibrahimovic inspired his country to a thrilling 4-3 aggregate victory against Denmark in the play-offs, but the 34-year-old striker has been largely anonymous and they have looked woefully short of firepower; indeed, Hamren’s men have failed to register a single shot on target in either of their first two group games.
Belgium struggled to make an impact against the Azzurri in their opening match, but their impressive array of attacking talent sparkled against the Boys in Green, with Romelu Lukaku scoring twice in the 3-0 win against Martin O’Neill’s men.
Wilmots’ men could prove too hot to handle for the struggling Swedes, but the 17/20 (1.85) quote on offer from bet365 for Belgium to win is somewhat skinny given Belgium can't topple Italy at the top of the group.
The juicy 10/11 (1.91) quote from the same firm for the Red Devils to score two or more goals, though, represents outstanding value for punters ahead of this crucial clash. This selection would have paid dividends in eight of Belgium’s last nine victories and, after a free-flowing display against Ireland at the weekend, Wilmots’ side are superb value to get amongst the goals again in Nice.