Belgium and Netherlands will both be looking to make positive starts to their UEFA Nations League campaigns when they lock horns in Brussels on Friday night.
The pair have been drawn alongside Poland and Wales in League A Group 4, and both sides will play four times in the competition over the next couple of weeks.
Belgium reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Nations League in the previous cycle but crashed out of the tournament at the hands of eventual champions France. In their previous game, the Red Devils eased past Burkina Faso 3-0 and will want to achieve a similar result this week.
Belgium will take on the Netherlands, Poland twice, and Wales over the next couple of weeks, but they will already be thinking about the 2022 World Cup, with matches against Canada, Morocco and Croatia in the group stage.
The Netherlands, on the other hand, finished in second place in their group and were unable to qualify for the knock-outs ahead of Italy. The Oranje held Germany to a 1-1 draw in their previous game and will need to take it up a notch in this fixture.
The Red Devils finished third at the 2018 World Cup, losing to France in the semi-finals before beating England 2-0 in the third-place playoff four days later.
Belgium did not make a strong impression at last summer’s European Championship, though, going out in the competition’s quarter-finals to eventual winners Italy.
Head to Head:
The Netherlands have a good record against Belgium and have won 55 of the 127 matches played between the two teams. Belgium have managed 41 victories against the Oranje and will want to cut the deficit on Friday.
The previous meeting between the two European giants took place in 2018 and ended in a 1-1 draw. Both teams squandered chances on the day and will need to be more clinical this week.
Belgium form guide: W-D-D-W-W
Netherlands form guide: D-W-W-D-W
Belgium: Thibaut Courtois has pulled out of the Belgium squad with a groin strain sustained in Saturday’s Champions League final. Jason Denayer has also withdrawn.
Eden Hazard has only registered 26 minutes of action since February, though the Red Devils skipper was fit enough to make the bench for Saturday’s final win over Liverpool.
Netherlands: Mark Flekken started the friendly meetings with Denmark and Germany this year and may be handed another chance to consolidate a starting spot between the sticks.
Louis van Gaal should go with a three-man backline against Belgium, with Memphis Depay potentially starting alongside Wout Weghorst, though the Dutch boss does have options in attack.
Belgium vs Netherlands Predicted XI
Belgium Predicted XI (3-5-2): Koen Casteels; Jan Vertonghen, Dedryck Boyata, Toby Alderweireld; Thomas Meunier, Yannick Carrasco, Axel Witsel, Youri Tielemans, Kevin De Bruyne; Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku
Netherlands Predicted XI (3-5-2): Mark Flekken; Virgil van Dijk, Mattijs de Ligt, Nathan Ake; Daley Blind, Denzel Dumfries, Teun Koopmeiners, Frenkie de Jong, Steven Berghuis; Memphis Depay, Wout Weghorst