Belgium v Gibraltar preview
FootyOn provide a Belgium v Gibraltar preview, ahead of the footballing nations’ upcoming 2018 World Cup qualifier in Brussels.
Live on Sky Sports Red Button at 19:45 BST on Thursday, August 31.
It’s top versus bottom in this Group H game, as the Red Devils currently lead the way by four points ahead of their nearest rivals.
As for Gibraltar, UEFA’s smallest nation in terms of size and population, they are still chasing their first official point.
While it will certainly be an impossible ask for Team 54, as they are nicknamed, to achieve a result against top 10 FIFA-ranked team Belgium, they’ll be hoping to show further progress after coming agonisingly close to drawing with Cyprus last time out.
The Eastern Mediterranean island got a dramatic late winner in Gibraltar’s temporary home Faro back in June to win 2-1.
National boss Jeff Wood will pit his wits against Roberto Martinez and Thierry Henry in the opposite dugout once more, and has called up a largely similar squad of 23.
New Notts County signing and Gibraltar star Liam Walker is among them, but fellow England-based duo Scott Wiseman (Chesterfield) and Jake Gosling (Torquay United) miss out again.
Captain Roy Chipolina, who recently spoke to us in an exclusive interview about the upcoming internationals, will lead his team out again, along with star striker Lee Casciaro, with the aim of bettering their 6-0 loss to Belgium last October.
Odds of 5/1 with Sky Bet say that both teams will score, which is tempting considering that Gibraltar have found the net on the road against the likes of Poland and Scotland in competitive matches before.
Martinez calls upon superstar Red Devils
As for the hosting Red Devils, they have gone for a near-full strength squad, including the likes of Premier League stars Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld and Thibaut Courtois.
Lukaku didn’t face Gibraltar in the away fixture, with Christian Benteke shining by hitting a hat-trick, so the Manchester United summer signing will be hoping to get among the goals this time.
Belgium are 6/1 to exact their 6-0 victory again, or a tasty 45/1 to triumph 6-1 – both markets are with BetVictor.
Martinez’s men can further enhance their chances of finishing top of Group H with a home win, with only three more games to go after it.
They currently sit four points ahead of Greece and five above Bosnia and Herzegovina, who Gibraltar host next on September 3.
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Test your knowledge on Gibraltar football too with our dedicated quiz!
After Gibraltar star Liam Walker’s summer switch to Notts County, here’s a dedicated factfile on him.
For more football previews, tips and accas, here’s our dedicated section.