Belgium v Panama Betting Tips & Preview – Monday 18th June 2018

Belgian Flag Panama Flag

Roberto Martinez and Belgium get their 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign underway with a fixture against Group G minnows Panama at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on Monday afternoon. The Belgians are the overwhelming favourites to claim a win in this one, and they will no doubt be targeting a big victory in Sochi. Before a ball has been kicked in Group G, Belgium are expected to tussle with Gareth Southgate’s England for top spot, with Tunisia capable of putting the cat amongst the pigeons.

This will be the Panamanians first ever World Cup finals, while Belgium will be making their 13th appearance. The Red Devils will be looking to put on a show in Sochi, kicking off their tournament with a handsome win. This may be the first meeting between these two nations, but Belgium should be far too strong for Hernan Dario Gomez’s men on Monday.

Top Tips

Belgium to Win -2 @ 7/5

Belgium to Win to Nil @ 8/15

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Belgium Form

Belgium had a fine World Cup qualifying campaign, dropping just two points from 10 games to win their group with ease. Along the way, the Belgians were the joint top scorers with Germany in European qualifying, each netting a staggering 43 goals. Over the last few years or so, the Red Devils have gone from strength to strength, turning themselves into a formidable force. After underachieving at the last two major tournaments, can they go far in Russia?

With the likes of Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku – plus several other top-quality players – in their squad, Belgium are blessed with talent. The Belgians have not lost a game since being beaten by Spain in a friendly in Martinez’s first match in charge way back in September 2016. Since thumping Cyprus 4-0 in their final qualifier, Belgium have won four and drawn two of six friendlies.

MatchDateScoreResult
Belgium v Costa Rica 11th June 2018 4-1 Win
Belgium v Egypt 6th June 2018 3-0 Win
Belgium v Portugal 2nd June 2018 0-0 Draw

Panama Form

To be fair to Panama, they had a terrific qualification campaign, deservedly qualifying for their first World Cup. In CONCACAF Fourth Round Group B, the Panamanians finished runners-up to Costa Rica to progress to the Fifth Round. They then went up against the likes of Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, USA and Trinidad & Tobago, going on to finish third to take the final automatic qualification place to the 2018 World Cup.

Panama – a tiny Central American country with a population of around four million – are one of the lowest-ranked teams participating at the World Cup. This is uncharted territory for the Canal Men, but they will certainly enjoy their stay in Russia. Panama have recently earned draws with Wales and Northern Ireland in friendlies but getting results at a World Cup is a different kettle of fish.

MatchDateScoreResult
Norway v Panama 6th June 2018 1-0 Loss
Panama v Northern Ireland 30th May 2018 0-0 Draw
Trinidad & Tobago v Panama 18th April 2018 0-1 Win

Head to Head Stats

Belgium and Panama have never met in any competition, so Monday’s matchup at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi will be the first ever meeting between the two nations.

Injuries & Suspensions

Despite limping off in Belgium’s recent friendly win over Costa Rica, Eden Hazard is expected to be back for this one. As for Vincent Kompany, the Manchester City captain is likely to miss out with an ongoing groin injury. Panama’s Alberto Quintero is out after breaking a bone in his foot while Jose Luis Rodriguez picked up an injury in training and could also miss out.

Belgium

  • Eden Hazard - Chelsea star should be fit despite picking up a knock in Belgium’s final warm-up match
  • Vincent Kompany - Man City defender is likely to miss this one with a groin injury

Panama

  • Alberto Quintero - Midfielder out after breaking a bone in his foot in a warm-up game against Norway
  • Jose Luis Rodriguez - Teenager could miss out after picking up a thigh injury in training

Betting Tips

Belgium have been tipped by many to go far in Russia. So much so, you can’t even call them outsiders, with only Brazil, Germany, Spain, France and Argentina fancied more. With England to come in their final group game, the Red Devils will be eyeing up six points from their opening two matches before then. As for Panama, they head to Russia with nothing to lose and everything to gain. Even getting a point from their three group fixtures will be an achievement for Gomez’s troops. Unfortunately for them, we can’t see them getting anything from this one in Sochi.

Belgium to Win -2

On their day, Belgium are capable of wiping the floor with any nation in world football. During qualifying, they recorded 6-0, 8-1 and 9-0 victories. We’re backing Martinez’s troops to win well on Monday, so back the Belgians to win -2 at 7/5.

Belgium to Win to Nil

Also in qualifying, Belgium conceded just six goals, winning without shipping on six occasions. Belgium’s defence should keep Panama’s attack at bay, and we feel there’s decent value in odds of 8/15 for Belgium to win to nil.

Romelu Lukaku to Score First

Lukaku was Belgium’s main man in qualifying, netting an outstanding 11 goals. The Manchester United striker will be hoping to get off to a flyer in Russia, so back him to score first at 13/5.

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