Cyprus proved to be a difficult task for Scotland, now Steve Clarke has to take his side to face the world’s best national team, as he prepares for Belgium vs Scotland.
The Belgians are packed to the rafters with talent. The likes of Real Madrid-bound Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne are world class, whilst the likes of Vincent Kompany and Axel Witsel are some of the best in Europe for their respective positions.
They should outclass Scotland, however, Clarke’s side will be eager to cause a major upset.
If Scotland are to have any success, they somehow need to succeed in some testing individual bouts.
Here are three battles that could decide the outcome of Belgium vs Scotland.
Stephen O’Donnell vs Eden Hazard
Even seeing these two names together in a sub-heading is hilarious. Kilmarnock’s reliable full-back will need to have the game of his life if he wants to limit the Belgian superstar.
O’Donnell will know what Hazard is about, so hopefully that plays into his favour. The winger is one of the best in his position.
A brilliant performance from the Killie man might not even stop Hazard. If he doesn’t turn up, however, it will be a long night for O’Donnell.
Kevin De Bruyne vs John McGinn
The ex-Hibee will be a Premier League player next season. What better way to prepare for that than playing against the Premier League’s best midfielder?
McGinn was his usual self against Cyprus, a ball of energy who was constantly making tackles and pressing in the engine room. He’ll need to do that and more if he wants to stop the Manchester City midfielder.
De Bruyne can cut you open with one pass. McGinn has to be on top of him all night, otherwise, the Belgian will torment Clarke’s side.
Eamonn Brophy vs Toby Alderweireld
The Kilmarnock frontman had a frustrating Scotland debut against Cyprus. If he thought that was difficult, he’s got his work cut out for him against the formidable Belgian defence.
Tottenham centre-half Alderweireld is the defender most likely to start on Tuesday. Up against a world-class back three, Brophy will need to feed on scraps again.
Alderweireld will be his biggest task to deal with, so if Brophy is going to win any battle, it has to be this one. Nobody could fault him if he didn’t though, as his Belgian counterpart is a class above.
It’ll likely be a tough night for Kilmarnock’s hitman.