Euro Betting: Finland vs Belgium, 21 June
Final Group Game | Group B | St Petersburg
Their Euros So Far
Both sides can be proud of their Euro campaigns so far, if not for the same standards of achievement. Euro debutants Finland made history by winning their first euro game against neighbours Denmark in their opening game. Unfortunately, this was followed by a narrow defeat to Russia, but they still have a fair chance of reaching the next stage of the competition, which would represent a huge achievement for the Nordic nation.
For Belgium, their two Euro games so far have been pretty flawless and relatively painless. They defeated Russia 3-0 for their opener, followed by a comfortable 2-1 victory over Denmark that has seen them through to the next round already. You could argue this should be expected by the so-called ‘golden generation’ of Belgian footballers, but we’ve seen many such generations fail in the past.
The Fins will require a win to be certain of safe passage to the next round, but even a hard-fought draw would be enough, as long as Russia were to lose against Denmark. All in all, Belgium aside, it’s a very open group where currently third placed Finland could finish 2nd, 3rd, or 4th! Obviously, finishing third would give them a slim chance of being one of the four best third placed teams to progress, but there would be a lot of factors for that to fall in their favour too.
For Belgium, the pressure is off going into the final group game, it’s merely the technicality of whether they finish first or second in their group. Just a draw would be enough to secure them top spot. It remains to be seen whether they will field a weakened team that could compromise that target.
History suggests a close contest for the final group game of Finland and Belgium, with the Fins winning four to Belgium’s three of their 11-game past. Even the goals scored is hard to split.
The most recent matches between the nations were both 1-1 friendly draws on Belgian soil. In each game there were late equalisers for both sides, with Romelu Lukaku salvaging points for Belgium in 2016, and Finland’s Roni Porokara hitting a 90th minute leveller in 2011.
Both draws extended Finland’s unbeaten run against the Red Devils to 7 games. The last time a Belgium side secured victory over the Finnish has been several decades.
The single Euro game between the two teams came in the Euro 2008 qualifiers, when Finland won 2-0 in Helsinki. This was preceded by a goalless stalemate in Brussels. Neither nation progressed to the finals.
So, will Finland maintain their historical hold? Or will Belgium’s ‘golden generation’ prove their worth?