Two potential World Cup dark horses meet in what is sure to be a hotly contested friendly this week, as Belgium take on Portugal in Brussels.
Roberto Martinez's side boast a plethora of talent, including the likes of Manchester City duo Kevin De Bruyne and Vincent Kompany, Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku and Chelsea's Eden Hazard, while Portugal's hopes seem to rely upon the majestic talent of Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.
Portugal will also take on Algeria before the World Cup gets underway later this month, while Belgium have two further friendlies, against Egypt and Costa Rica.
The Red Devils have been drawn into a group with Panama, Tunisia and England, while Ronaldo and Co. will take on Morocco, Iran and Spain.
|Game||Belgium vs Portugal|
|Date||Saturday, June 2|
|Time||19:45 BST / 14:45 ET|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US) , the game can be watched on ESPN Deportes+, ESPN Deportes and ESPN3. It can be streamed through Directv.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on Manchester United's official club television channel, MUTV, and the online MUTV app.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||Casteels, Courtois, Mignolet, Sels|
|Defenders||Alderweireld, Boyata, Ciman, Kabasele, Kompany, J. Lukaku, Meunier, Vermaelen, Vertonghen|
|Midfielders||De Bruyne, Chadli, Dembele, Dendoncker, Fellaini, Tielemans, Witsel|
|Forwards||Batshuayi, Benteke, Carrasco, E. Hazard, T. Hazard, Januzaj, R. Lukaku, Mertens|
Roberto Martinez must whittle his 28-man squad down to 23 by June 4, but is unlikely to be too experimental against such strong opposition.
As such, the likes of Premier League stalwarts Thibaut Courtois, De Bruyne, Hazard and Jan Vertonghen are all likely to feature.
It remains to be seen, however, if Toby Alderweireld will be deployed in defence after struggling for game time at Tottenham during the latter part of the season.
Potential Belgium starting XI: Courtois; Meunier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, J. Lukaku; De Bruyne, Witsel, Dembele; Mertens, R. Lukaku, E. Hazard
|Goalkeepers||Lopes, Beto, Rui Patricio|
|Defenders||Alves, Cedric, Fonte, Mario Rui, Pepe, Guerreiro, Pereira, Ruben Dias|
|Midfielders||Adrien Silva, B Fernandes, Mario, Moutinho, M Fernandes, Carvalho|
|Forwards||Andre Silva, Bernardo Silva, Ronaldo, Martins, Guedes, Quaresma|
Portugal are likely to head into the World Cup with a 4-4-2 formation, with Andre Silva set to partner Cristiano Ronaldo up front.
Elsewhere, there is likely to be a battle between Anthony Lopes and Rui Patricio to start in goal, while an ageing defence - Bruno Alves is 36 and Pepe 35 - could ultimately prove to be an Achilles' heel.
Potential Portugal starting XI: Rui Patricio; Pereira, Pepe, Alves, Guerreiro; B. Silva, Moutinho, Carvalho, Guedes; A. Silva, Ronaldo
Betting & Match Odds
Belgium are favourites to win the match with dabblebet pricing them at evens. Portugal are rated 11/4 to beat the Red Devils and a draw is available at 9/4.
Both Belgium and Portugal head into the World Cup full of hope, but also wary of key weaknesses within their ranks.
Roberto Martinez has a star-studded squad at his disposal - the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard would walk into any other national team in the world - but they have flattered to deceive at major tournaments, and this would appear to be the last hurrah of a supposed Golden Generation.
Portugal, meanwhile, have Cristiano Ronaldo, and also surprised many with their Euro 2016 victory just two years ago. However, a reliance on ageing stars and a lack of strength in depth means they will have to lean heavily on the Real Madrid megastar.
Thus this friendly offers a key opportunity for both sides to measure their progress heading into Russia. Both sides are in groups that they will expect to qualify from, with England offering the only challenge to top spot for the Red Devils, and Spain doing the same for Portugal.
Yet the likes of France, Germany, Brazil and La Roja have far deeper squads than these two sides, and they must be placed alongside the Three Lions, Argentina and Uruguay in a 'dark horses' pot.
A victory here for either side would prove impactful, though it is Belgium who have form on their side. They won their qualifying group at a canter - winning nine and drawing one of their 10 qualifiers - while Portugal topped theirs through goal difference, having finished level on points with Switzerland.
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