Belgium vs Estonia Preview: Probable Lineups, Prediction, Tactics, Team News & Key Stats

After a hard-fought 1-0 win over Azerbaijan, Belgium will be look to move another step closer to Euro 2024 qualification with a win against Estonia in Tuesday’s qualifier at the Stade Roi Baudouin.

Belgium, who face Estonia on Tuesday, have made a decent fist of things since several key pieces of the “golden generation” either retired or were phased out from the international stage. They have now won four of their five games under Dominic Tedesco during a relatively smooth transition from Roberto Martinez.

So far, Domenico Tedesco’s team have ten points on the board in Group F, starting with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Sweden in Stockholm, with Romelu Lukaku bagging a hat-trick that night. Then, in June, the Red Devils were frustratingly held to a 1-1 draw by Austria in Brussels before taking out their frustrations on Estonia in Tallinn, prevailing 3-0.

The Red Devils were not at their best in Saturday’s clash with Azerbaijan in Baku, with a fortuitous goal from Yannick Carrasco securing them a 1-0 victory and keeping them ahead of Austria on goal difference at the top of Group F. With Estonia set to visit King Baudouin Stadium on Tuesday, Belgium will be expecting to move onto 13 points ahead of tougher assignments against Austria and Sweden to come in October.

Following their narrow 2-1 defeat to Belgium in Austria, Estonia suffered their third Group F loss at the weekend, and it was rather humiliating. Thomas Haberli’s men were ripped apart by Sweden’s buzzing attack, as a three-goal deficit at halftime became a 5-0 thumping by the final whistle.

They currently sit second-bottom of the group, having picked up only one point from their four fixtures, only avoiding rock bottom thanks to a superior goal difference to Azerbaijan. The Hard Tackle now takes a closer look at the squads ahead of this matchup in Brussels.

Team News & Tactics


Domenico Tedesco is having to make do without a number of regular players missing through injury issues. But taking into account the level of opposition they are facing, this might not be a hindrance in their preparation for Tuesday’s game against Estonia.

First-choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and playmaker Kevin De Bruyne are both out injured. So, in goal, with Simon Mignolet have retired from international football, Koen Casteels should continue to don the gloves between the sticks, although three-capped Matz Sels and uncapped Luton Town keeper Thomas Kaminski are also in the squad.

Tedesco will set up Belgium in his preferred 4-3-3 formation, with attacking full-backs Timothy Castagne and Arthur Theate pushing high to provide width and support to the forward players. Skipper Jan Vertonghen and Wout Faes will form the central defensive pairing.

Amadou Onana, Orel Mangala, and Leandro Trossard will form the midfield trio. Onana and Mangala will provide the necessary balance with their gritty defensive work and high energy, laying the foundations, while the Arsenal man offers intelligent progression and attacking intent, having had three efforts on goal against Azerbaijan, hitting the post.

Out wide, electric PSV attacker Johan Bakayoko and former Atletico Madrid star Yannick Carrasco are expected to be the two wingers who will be relied upon to break up Estonia’s defensive block and provide service to striker Romelu Lukaku. Lois Openda and Jeremy Doku are some of the attacking options available on the bench.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Casteels; Castagne, Faes, Vertonghen, Theate; Mangala, Onana, Trossard; Bakayoko, Lukaku, Carrasco


Following their humiliating defeat at the hands of Sweden, Estonia boss Thomas Haberli would ideally want to make a raft of changes to his starting XI against Belgium. However, the lack of depth means he could line up with pretty much the same lineup, hoping for a response from his players and a different outcome.

Haberli will opt for a stout 5-3-2 formation that offers his side added protection at the back, which would be vital to contain Belgium’s superior attack. Arsenal youth goalkeeper Karl Hein looks likely to start in goal, with Marten Kuusk, Karol Mets, and Joonas Tamm will try to form a resolute three-man backline, looking to sustain Belgium’s bombarding attacks.

Continuing a productive international career into his 40th year, Estonia captain Konstantin Vassiljev is in line to make his 153rd appearance for the hosts this weekend. The 39-year-old attacking midfielder may have to make do with an outing off the bench, though, as Martin Miller and Shamrock Rovers star Markus Poom have been preferred by Haberli lately.

Having scored four goals in his last eight national team appearances, Rauno Sappinen will now miss out due to a serious knee injury, leaving either Erik Sorga or Hong Kong-based Henri Anier to lead the line in his keenly felt absence.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Hein; Kuusk, Tamm, Mets; Peetson, Poom, Kait, Miller, Pikk; Ojamaa, Anier

Key Stats

  • Estonia have conceded two or more goals, all of which ended in over 2.5 goals in three of their last four matches.
  • Estonia have one clean sheet in 15 Euro qualification matches.
  • Ten of Belgium’s last 12 home victories in Euro qualifiers have featured four or more goals.
  • This will be the 10th meeting between the two teams. Belgium hold a superior record with eight wins (D1 L1) and have won their last five games in the fixture.
  • Romelu Lukaku has seven goals in Belgium’s last five matches.

Player to Watch

Romelu Lukaku

Embed from Getty Images

Domenico Tedesco did not hesitate to throw Romelu Lukaku into the attack for Saturday’s European Championship qualifier away against Azerbaijan, although the striker has only played 20 minutes this season.

The 30-year-old striker, whose 75 strikes in 108 matches for Belgium make him the country’s top goal scorer, moved on loan from Chelsea to AS Roma days before the recent transfer window closed and had his first run out off the bench on Sept. 1 when his side lost at home to AC Milan.

And it showed against Azerbaijan, as he lacked match sharpness and a clinical edge. Having netted six goals against Estonia in five matches, he should be able to take advantage of Estonia’s defensive weakness and punish the opposition.


Belgium 3-0 Estonia

Estonia have enjoyed relative successes against San Marino and Malta at the Nations League level. And next month’s qualifier against Azerbaijan could offer a more equal footing. However, when it comes to moving up a level, they have predictably fallen short.

Therefore, damage limitation may be the priority in Brussels, where the revamped Belgium will want to put the visitors to the sword in front of home support. Although the Red Devils miss bountiful stars in this tie, they still possess enough quality in their ranks to ease past the group minnows and keep a solid advantage over Sweden in third place in the standings.

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