Belgium, second favourites to win the tournament behind France, begin their campaign against Russia back in the stadium where they won the third-fourth-place plate match at the 2018 World Cup.
In one of the dull consequences of expanding the finals tournament to an unwieldy 24 teams, Group B is another which features teams from the same qualifying group and Belgium, Fifa’s No1 ranked side, 37 places ahead of their opponents, hammered Russia twice in 2019, winning 3-1 in Brussels and 4-1, also in this very stadium.
Belgium have lost only twice in 30 games since their defeat by France in the 2018 World Cup semi-final, which also took place in Saint Petersburg, while long-ball merchants Russia are in poor form, winning three, drawing four and losing four of their past 11 games.
When is Belgium vs Russia?
The match takes place on Saturday, June 12 at Krestovsky Stadium (AKA Gazprom Arena) in Saint Petersburg.
What time is kick-off?
The referee will exhale through his Acme Thunderer to signal the kick-off at 8pm.
What TV channel is it on?
This game will be broadcast on ITV. The TV rights for the tournament are shared by BBC and ITV.
Read more: Full Euro 2021 fixtures list
What is the latest news from both teams?
Belgium are not counting on Kevin De Bruyne being ready to play in their first European Championship group game against Russia in St Petersburg on Saturday, Roberto Martinez said..
The midfielder joined the rest of the Belgian squad on Monday at their base in Tubize but was sent straight for more medical tests, after a double facial fracture suffered in the Champions League final.
He had a small surgery on the injury last week but had always been planning to join up with Belgium only one week ahead of the Russia game in order to have a break after a long club season.
“He will only join up with us in training when the medical staff say so. But I’m not really counting on Kevin to be ready for the first game,” Martinez said.
But the coach did say he was delighted to see De Bruyne arrive. “The highlight of the day,” said Martinez. “He looks ready. He watched our match against Croatia and is already in the mood. He will now build up slowly. But it makes a big difference that he is part of the group.”
While De Bruyne’s participation was uncertain, captain Eden Hazard returned on Sunday in a 1-0 win over Croatia for his first international in some 18 months, coming on for the last eight minutes after an injury-plagued club season.
“It didn’t matter how many minutes Eden played, but that he played. That’s a big step mentally. I’m happy with how he came in. He picked up the pace of the game quickly. When will Eden be ready for 90 minutes? That’s hard to say. The most important thing is that he is medically ready,” said Martinez. Reuters
Striker Artyom Dzyuba will lead the line for Russia at the European Championship, supported by the pace and trickery of winger Denis Cheryshev, after head coach Stanislav Cherchesov revealed his final 26-man squad for the tournament.
Dzyuba, 32, will captain the side, with Cherchesov naming only two other forwards in Anton Zabolotny and Alexander Sobolev.
The team will be without talismanic goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, who refused to end his international retirement for the Euros, with Dynamo keeper Anton Shunin stepping up to first choice instead.
Monacao’s Alexander Golovin made the cut in midfield, alongside the Zenit St Petersburg trio of Daler Kuzyayev, Andrei Mostovoi, Magomed Ozdoyev, while two more Zenit players, Yury Zhirkov and Vyacheslav Karavayev, were named in defence. Reuters
What have we said about Euro 2021?
What are the latest odds?
Belgium – 4/6
Russia – 4/1
Draw – 13/5
View the latest Euro 2021 betting offers.
What is our prediction?
Belgium 4 Russia 1