Who? Belgium - Tunisia
Where? Otkritie Arena, Moscow
When? June 23, 14:00 (CET local time)
Belgium (Yossi Medina)
Belgium passed their first test in this World Cup clearly with 4:0 against Panama and now they are ready for their next match against Tunisia. Once again, Belgium will be the obvious favorites in this match.
The brace of Romelu Lukaku in the previous match made him as one of the best World Cup scorers in Belgium's history. With another goal he scored in 2014, there are now only two Belgian players that scored more than him. The first is Jan Ceulemans with 4 goals and the top scorer is Lukaku's former national manager, Marc Wilmots, who scored 5 goals.
For the Belgian team, the game against Tunisia may bring some memories from another match they played against North African team. It was four years ago against Algeria. Belgium had a bad opening with an early goal of Sofiane Feghouli, who converted a penalty kick successfully. Only in the last minutes Belgium found the net twice, by goals of Marouan Fellaini and Dries Mertens. Belgium needs to do everything in order to prevent a repeat of it.
Roberto Martínez and his players are aiming to finish in the first place in group G. Before playing the decisive match against England, Belgium must ensure that they would not drop any single point against Tunisia.
Tunisia (Uri Levy)
After three Arab teams, two of them North Africans, are all out of the tournament, the last Arab representative, which is also North African, Tunisia will try to retain some of whats left from the lost respect for the Arab football in the 2018 World Cup. The Carthage Eagles already surprised with their performance against England in the first match day.
Then, they almost produced a famous upset but could not hold on. Despite losing to the Three Lions, with two of their star players out to injury, the Tunisians produced a combative half against a much more competent team. Nabil Maâloul and his players definitely have a reason to be disappointed to lose like this in the 91st minute, after Ferjani Sassi cooly converted a penalty that turned out to be the first Arab goal of the tournament that equalised the scoreboard.
Against Belgium they will look to produce the same aggressiveness, but this time to lock the goal safe enough until the final whistle. They have nothing to lose or any fraud expectations to prove right. They will scratch, kick, foul and do whatever it takes to stop Lukaku, Mertens, De Bruyne and the band. Their game after will be against Panama in Saransk, in what will be the last match of the group stage. Imagine if they’ll grab a point from the Red Devils, beat Panama by four goals, while England draw with the Central Americans and lose to Belgium. Maybe then, the Arab respect will be somehow back on the football pitches in Russia.