Belgium vs Panama
Competition: 2018 World Cup finals
Date: 18 June 2018
Kick-off: 17:00 CET
One thing is for sure about Belgium, on their good day, they are one of the most fun teams to watch. Back in March 2017, they needed a Romelu Lukeku goal in the 89th minute to avoid defeat at home, versus Greece (1-1). Ever since then, they’ve scored at least two goals in almost all their matches. The only ones who managed to keep a clean sheet against them were Portugal, two weeks ago. Plus, they have kept a clean sheet in four of their last five games. They conceded only once in those matches, and do keep in mind, all five were against World Cup finalists. It feels they have everything a team needs to do well in these finals. Obviously, it depends on whom they’ll face in the knock-out stages, but no matter who it is, Belgium have the roster to cope with practically any opponent.
Panama’s qualification for the World Cup finals was historic as much as controversial, but… that’s “day before yesterday”. Their “yesterday”, their performances in friendly games these last months, have been anything from average to poor, if not very poor. The only game they won was against lowly Trinidad & Tobago, in April, when they scored their only goal in their last five games. As for their “today”, the finals, things look bleak. Sending the ball in feels almost like mission impossible for the Central Americans, who, at least, usually defend well. They were embarrassed by Switzerland in March (6-0), but other than that, they kept their opponents to no, or just one goal.
Previous five matches:
Belgium vs Costa Rica 4-1
Belgium vs Egypt 3-0
Belgium vs Portugal 0-0
Belgium vs Saudi Arabia 4-0
Belgium vs Japan 1-0
Norway vs Panama 1-0
Panama vs Northern Ireland 0-0
Trinidad & Tobago vs Panama 0-1
Switzerland vs Panama 6-0
Denmark vs Panama 1-0
Belgium’s next game is against Tunisia, on Saturday. A day later, Panama will be facing England.
Belgium vs Panama: Head to head Stats
This is the first game ever between these two.
Belgium vs Panama: Prediction
Any other result but a Belgium win would be a massive surprise. Despite Panama’s usually tight defense, I expect the Belgians to score at least twice, and win comfortably.
Belgium vs Panama: Betting Tips
A simple Belgium win pays just 1.18. Their -1.5 Asian handicap (if they win by two goals or more), is at 1.55. Last but not least, “Belgium and over 2.5 goals” is at 1.72. None of these is fantastic, but given that it’s the first game for both in these finals, it may not be a bad idea to take things somewhat conservatively.