There was a really interesting piece on the BBC website last week about how historical trends can perhaps teach us who will win the World Cup. SPOILER ALERT: their findings suggested Belgium could walk away with the trophy, which was something of a surprise. But then you look at their squad and think….maybe it’s not so crazy at all. But how will they start their campaign? Here’s our Belgium vs Panama betting tips.
Any team with Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and Dries Mertens in its ranks cannot be written off, and with Spurs pair Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld in defence you could argue that Belgium have one of the best ‘spines’ of a team in the competition.
You sense that this golden generation of players hasn’t quite yet reached their peak on the international stage, and quarter-final appearances at both World Cup ’14 and Euro 2016 hint at what might follow in Russia.
As for Panama, you wonder if they are onto something of a hiding for nothing here. This is their first ever World Cup appearance, they are a long way from home and their qualification campaign left a lot to be desired.
In short, Belgium could run riot in Sochi.
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Belgium vs Panama Betting Tips
This Belgium starting eleven could read like a Premier League All-Stars XI depending on Roberto Martinez’s team selection. It’s a wet dream for the FIFA and Football Manager player.
From Courtois in goal and the Alderweireld-Kompany-Vertonghen back three, to a midfield of De Bruyne-Dembele and an attack featuring Hazard and Romelu Lukaku, it really is a mouth-watering prospect.
Add into the mix Mertens and the lively Yannick Carrasco and it’s no wonder the Belgians are well fancied to go rather deep in Russia.
Unbeaten in qualifying where they averaged 4.30 goals per game, the Belgians have trounced Egypt and Costa Rica in warm-up games and enter the tournament in red hot form. They will take some stopping.
Los Canaleros Treading Water
The only team to qualify for the World Cup with a minus goal difference, Panama came through the easy Central American section with a formline of W3 D4 L3, and that hardly hints at magic to come.
Indeed, they were trounced o-4 by the USA in qualification, and were spanked 0-6 by Switzerland in a friendly not too long ago.
In five warm-up matches against fair-to-middling opponents, Panama lost three times and scored a solitary goal.
Their squad is made up of domestic players – they are in for a culture shock in Russia – and this will be the biggest game of most of their careers.
They are bound to be nervous, and Belgium will not be in sympathetic mood.
Belgium to Win to Nil, at 3/4 with William Hill, could be the bet of the first round of World Cup 2018.
This Belgium outfit has goals in it throughout the eleven, and you wonder if the Panamanian defenders will have ever come up against a team as talented as this in their lives before. Our Belgium vs Panama betting tip have to take that into consideration.
It’s going to be a huge culture shock for Panama, and with goal difference likely to be key as to who tops Group G, Belgium will be in no mood to take it easy on them.
Sourcing goals-based bets is key here, and Eden Hazard to Score Anytime at Evens with William Hill is unmissable value.