Opposition Scouting Report: How can Tunisia beat Belgium?

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Belgium's Golden Generation is full of familiar faces, but after they took their time to click into gear against Panama, can Tunisia take encouragement heading into their second Group G clash?

How can Tunisia neutralise Belgium's strengths?

Against Panama, Eden Hazard peeled to the wide left at times. Regularly, he took up a wide-left position, picked up the ball and drive inward - demonstrating superb dribbling ability - to set up a teammate.

He just needs a moment to produce something brilliant, and can find good space between the lines. The Chelsea man needs to be marked tightly and put under pressure early to deny him time and pace.

Tunisia need to be physical and aggressive against him, and prevent him from getting time on the ball early on and settling into the contest.

Romelu Lukaku didn't have the best of games against Panama but still scored twice. With the composure he demonstrated against Panama, he can be a match-winner.

He has pace, strength and power, and can be a real handful. It's imperative that Tunisia match him physically, otherwise he will bully them.

Kevin De Bruyne's excellent cross for the second goal against Panama showcased his excellent technical ability, and obviously he can get on the ball and make something happen.

His passing range is extraordinary and can open up defences, and Tunisia cannot let him get on the ball with time and space otherwise he will start to dictate the play.

The Tunisian full-backs should also remain narrow, and ideally receive protection from the widemen, in order to negate the threat of Thomas Meunier and Yannick Ferreira Carrasco.

The Carthage Eagles must also be wary of Belgium overloading the central areas, with both wide centre-backs - Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld - joining in the play.

How can Tunisia exploit Belgium's weaknesses?

Notably, Belgium play with a high line and dominate the ball, but that does leave space in behind.

Particularly when Veronghen and Alderweireld join in the play and drive forward, Belgium can expose themselves to the counter and they can potentially be outnumbered on a turnover in transition.

Generally, Belgium lacked real energy, intensity and tempo in and out of possession against Panama, and never really clicked until the opening goal.

It was all a bit frustrating for them.

On 54 minutes, for example, Belgium slowed down completely - there was no pressure on the ball out of possession, and Panama

At other times, Belgium struggled to play with a good tempo in possession, and their back three opted to play sideways rather than drive forward.

This should encourage Tunisia's forwards to take risks, press intensely, and aim to exploit any lapses among the back three.


There's no doubt that his Belgium side boast many talented individuals, but as they demonstrated against Panama - before Dries Mertens' moment of excellence - they can get frustrated.

Belgium certainly didn't convince as a team and could have done much better, they dominated the ball as Panama sat deep.

Tunisia must get in and amongst Belgium early on, particularly to prevent Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne from settling on the ball.

Romelu Lukaku must be matched physically, while the full-backs need to stay deep - ideally with some protection - to guard against Belgium's widemen.

After that, the Eagles would do well to pressure the Red Devils' backline, as there will be some mistakes and they must be on hand to capitalise on any errors.