Belgium welcome Scotland in their European Championship group I qualification match, kicking off on Tuesday at 8:45pm local time. Belgium top the group with a 100% record, whereas Scotland come into the fixture having won their last two games.

Home Team: Belgium

Belgium will have been disappointed they are not in the UEFA Nations League this week, but they have two important European Championship qualification matches instead. Belgium are the top seeds of the group, and realistically, will believe they are one of the favourites to win the competition next summer, let alone advance from this group. So far, they are sitting pretty at the top of the table, winning three games from three. On match day one, they came across their toughest opponent on paper against Russia, and won relatively comfortably 3-1. The two matches since, against Cyprus and Kazakhstan, have been walks in the park. The latter, was their most recent win this past Saturday, in a 3-0 result – Dries Mertens, Timothy Castagne and Romelu Lukaku scored the goals in an incredibly dominant performance. Belgium will want to keep their winning run continuing as they host Scotland this Tuesday.

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Away Team: Scotland

New manager Steve Clarke got off to the perfect start by beating Cyprus 2-1 this past Saturday night. It was a close call though, as Cyprus equalised late in the game, to ruin the script for the new coach. However, Oliver Burke scored a last minute winner to give Scotland three points, which takes them to 3rd place behind Belgium and Russia. Scotland were embarrassed on match day one, losing in Kazakhstan, and then could only beat San Marino 2-0 following that. It does seem unlikely that Scotland will get into the top two positions of this group, but they do have a play-off position secure having won their UEFA Nations Group. Scotland haven’t qualified for a major tournament since the 1998 World Cup, and will have had to wait 24 years for a European Championship berth if they are to qualify for it next year. Are these current crop of players going to end that curse?

Head to Head

The sides have played 18 times in their past, with Belgium winning on 11 occasions, and Scotland just winning on four. Over half of these fixtures have been competitive, with the sides meeting in qualification groups for either World Cup or European Championships in 1971, 1979, 1982, 1987, 2001, and most recently in 2012. Over those 12 matches, Scotland have won twice, with Belgium winning 8 times. Scotland last avoided defeat to Belgium in a 2-2 draw in 2001, but Belgium go into this game having won the last four meetings, without conceding a goal. Scotland haven’t beaten Belgium since 1987, and haven’t won in Belgium since 1951 – their only away victory.

Predictions and Betting Tips

Belgium are strong favourites at 1/7 to get the victory, with Scotland priced at 18/1. For Scotland to even earn a draw, it is unlikely at 13/2. Belgium boast one of the best qualifying records in the last 8 years, and not many teams have left with a result. I don’t see that trend changing with Scotland’s visit, so I will predict a 4-1 home win at 16/1. For goal scorers, I’d back both Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard to score at 13/5, but if you are feeling lucky, then back Ryan Fraser of Scotland and Kevin De Bruyne to score at 33/1. To increase earnings on a Belgium win, you’d have to be bold and back them to score 4+ goals (2/1), win both halves (10/11), or even back them to win by an exact two-goal margin at 3/1. Finally, for the tipsters, Scotland to win may be a step too far, but they are at 12/1 to get a half-time lead – a surprisingly realistic scenario.

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