Belgium will face a familiar opponent in Russia when it kicks off its Euro 2020 campaign on Saturday as one of the tournament's heavy favorites.
The Red Devils faced Russia twice in qualifying for the Euros as Belgium prevailed in its respective 3-1 and 4-1 victories in 2019. Eden Hazard scored two goals in each of the ties, but the Real Madrid winger is expected to be on the bench for the opener as he continues to fight back from an injury-plagued season.
Hazard did play 10 minutes in Belgium's final friendly against Croatia last week, a 1-0 win thanks to a goal from Romelu Lukaku. Belgium enters the Euros as the top-ranked team in the FIFA world rankings after suffering only one loss in its last 23 games, and is led by back-to-back PFA Player of the Year winner Kevin De Bruyne, who is coming off surgery to repair a fractured eye socket and also is a doubt for the opener.
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Much like the 2018 World Cup where it made a surprise run to the quarterfinals, Russia will play from the comforts of home for its first two games of the Euros against Belgium and Finland before heading to Denmark for its final group stage match.
The Russian side has lost its last six games against teams competing in the Euros and will have a big task ahead of it for the opener against a Belgium team that led Euro qualifying with 40 goals while only conceding three from 10 games.
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