World Cup 2018: Belgium Vs. Panama Predictions - The Dark Horse vs The Rookies

Roberto Martinez's side plays a CONCACAF side making their World Cup debut as both sides face each other to open up Group G at the Fisht Stadium.  A lot is expected of this Golden Generation of Belgian Football as they hope to progress deep into the tournament and are one of the dark horse favourites to lift the title. Potent in attack with the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard, there are concerns regarding Belgium's ability to defend. Martinez can be best described as a novice when it comes to defensive scheming. His side lacks balance and will likely send numbers forward leaving their centre backs out to fend for themselves. That being said, they are overwhelming favourites against Panama and are second to none in Group G. Panama qualified through the grace of the almighty and more. Coming in to the last day of Concacaf qualifying, they needed to beat Costa Rica at home and hoped that Trinidad and Tobago would dispatch the United States. Their prayers were answered as Panama scored a desperate goal with two minutes to go as Trinidad overcame their odds to defeat the United States. That being said, Panama are coming in as massive underdogs against The Red Devils.

Score Prediction: Belgium 2:0 Panama  

Predicted Belgium XI: Courtois (gk), Vertonghen, Boyata, Alderweireld; Meunier, Carrasco, De Bruyne, Witsel; Mertens, Hazard (c), Lukaku 

Predicted Panama XI: Penedo (gk), R. Torres, Murillo, Davis, Escobar; G. Gomez, Cooper, Godoy, Barcenas, J. Rodriguez; G. Torres

Biggest X-Factor: Roberto Martinez. High hopes were placed on the Spaniard when he was given charge of the Belgian National Football Team. He is an amateur in setting up a side for 90 minutes though the is known for fielding teams with offensive prowess. If.. If he can get this tactics right and finds the right balance for his team, Beglium should breeze through this game and the group stages.

Predicted Man of the Match: Kevin De Bruyne. The best player on both sides and the fulcrum that will guide Belgium's attack, expect the midfielder to be in and around the box creating chances and breaking down Panama's defense.  

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