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Belgium vs Canada predictions: Red Devils to be pushed all the way
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Dan McCarthy
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Roberto Martinez is leading Belgium's 'Golden Generation' into another major tournament
Roberto Martinez is leading Belgium's 'Golden Generation' into another major tournament

- Belgium have reached the quarter-finals or better at their last four major tournaments 
- Canada were the top scorers in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying 
- Recommended bet: Belgium to win and both teams to score

Well-fancied Belgium get their World Cup campaign underway on Wednesday evening as they take on a Canada team making a return to the competition for the first time since 1986.

Roberto Martinez's team have been near the top of the world rankings tree for a number of years now but have never converted that form into tournament success.

They appear to be running out of time with the current 'Golden Generation' but they will hope to get off to the perfect start against the North American underdogs.

Canada come into the tournament having won three of their last six matches and their goalscoring record against an ageing defence could make this game interesting.

Team news

For Belgium, striker Romelu Lukaku will not be fit enough to play in the opening group game despite being named in the squad.

Lukaku has a leg muscle injury and Thursday's contest will come too soon for the Inter Milan man.

Eden Hazard looks like he will get the nod in attack despite his limited game time for Real Madrid, while teenage centre-back Zeno Debast is also a potential starter.

Canada's star man Alphonso Davies will not play this match as he, like Lukaku, has been injured in the build up — the Bayern Munich player has a hamstring issue.

Captain Atiba Hutchinson will win his 99th international cap while Cyle Larin, Canada's all-time top scorer, plays his club football in Belgium for Club Brugge.

Eden Hazard is expected to lead the line for Belgium in the absence of Romelu Lukaku
Eden Hazard is expected to lead the line for Belgium in the absence of Romelu Lukaku

The stats

Belgium come into this game on the back of another strong qualification phase, where they won six of their eight games in an unbeaten campaign.

The Red Devils bagged 25 goals and are in good shape for a Word Cup tilt, despite losing each of their last two matches across all competitions.

They got to the semi-finals in Russia four years ago and have reached the last eight or better at each of their last four major tournaments.

However, Canada will be offered hope by a defence that now looks long in the tooth — both teams have scored in 10 of Belgium's last 13 matches.

Canada were the top-scoring nation in the CONCACAF qualifiers with 23 goals in total and they only lost twice across 14 matches in the third stage of the qualifying phase.

Prediction

Both teams to score may be a tempting way to go, seeing as Belgium's defence is not exactly watertight.

Martinez has always prided himself on playing open and attacking football and Canada may look to exploit that.

The Maples Leafs have an in-form goalscorer in Jonathan David, who has netted nine in 15 for French side Lille this season and has 22 in 35 international caps.

Belgium are ranked number two in the world for a reason though and their tournament experience should shine through, with the Red Devils to win and both teams to score available at 7/4 with LiveScore Bet.

David should provide Canada's main attacking threat and he can be backed at 16/5 with LiveScore Bet to score anytime.

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World CupBelgiumCanada
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