Tip Belgium - Panama
Belgium offer a great deal but are yet to completely deliver, maybe 2018 could be their year. The Belgians best performance in the World Cup is a fourth place finish 32 years ago and the best they have done since then is a quarter final at the 2014 World Cup where they lost to Argentina. There's been a distinct lack of success in the European Championships too but with the likes of Hazard, Lukaku, De Bruyne and Vertonghen, surely they have a chance to at least get to the semi-finals in Russia. Their squad is packed with experienced internationals with 12 players who have played at least 50 internationals though with seven players in their 30s you sense they have to do well in this tournament if that glory is ever to head in their direction. Belgium easily won their qualifying group and scored 46 goals in ten games. They have scored 11 goals in their last four friendlies and that includes a goalless draw with European Champions Portugal. They are on a 19-game unbeaten run and that must surely be gong to rise to 20 after this match.
This is going to be a tough debut in the World Cup finals for Panama as they take on high-scoring Belgium followed by another hard battle against England. They qualified for their first finals by finishing third in the CONCACAF group ahead of the USA and Honduras. Not bad for a side that scored just nine goals in ten games and conceded ten. A negative goal difference and World Cup qualification is a bit of a rarity.. Even better considering in five away games they only scored once and lost 4-0 away to the USA. Form since qualification has been poor and they have just one win in their last seven matches including a 6-0 drubbing by Switzerland. Their only win was a 1-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago and that's also the only goal they have scored in five games played this year and that was a 93rd minute goal from Nunez. Go for Belgium to get the win in this match and be leading at both half and full time.
Key points Belgium - Panama
Belgium are unbeaten in their last 19 games.
Belgium have scored 11 goals in their last four matches, one of which was a goalless draw.
Panama have won one of their last seven games.
Panama have only scored once in their last five matches.
Conclusion Belgium - Panama
One of the favourites to win the 2018 World Cup take on one of its minnows. Belgium offer so much but always seem to put in a bad shift somewhere along the line and get knocked out. They have the talent and experience to do well in Russia and are in good form and scoring plenty of goals. Panama face a baptism of fire on their debut in the World Cup finals. They struggle to score goal even though Perez and Tejada have scored 86 between them for Panama, though it's taken 223 games mostly against lower ranked teams. They are in poor form going into this tournament so go for Belgium to get the win here leading at both half and full time.
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Belgium Panama Prediction published on June 19, 2018