Sweden v Belgium: Back De Bruyne and co. to fill their boots

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Belgium banished the memory of their limp opening-game defeat to Italy, with a 3-0 thumping of Republic of Ireland, and Sweden are set to suffer a similar fate when they face a Rode Duivels side with arguably the strongest strikeforce at Euro 2016.

Marc Wilmots’ men netted an impressive 24 times en route to France, topping their group. And the Belgians’ commanding displays have seen the side rise to second spot in the FIFA World Rankings – the highest of any European nation.

Conversely, Sweden scraped into the Euros via the play-offs, making heavy work of the likes of Moldova and Liechtenstein in qualifying, and failing to beat either Russia or Austria in the process.

They’ve also registered just once in France so far – against Republic of Ireland – and that equaliser came via a hugely fortunate own-goal.

Some will, of course, be tempted to back Blagult on the back of the world-class Zlatan Ibrahimovic. But the PSG striker has looked isolated in the Swedish attack of late, failing to score in his last five for the national side, while in qualifying he drew a blank in both games against group-topping Russia.

By contrast, Belgium’s talisman Romelu Lukaku has netted six times in as many games for De Rode Duivels, and following his brace against the Irish, there looks to be plenty of value in backing him to score twice or more here (7/1).

Tipping his team-mate and fellow Premier League star Kevin De Bruyne to score anytime at 21/10 could also be a very smart selection, with the Manchester City star having netted five times in his last ten games.

And with Belgium having recorded three 3-1 victories within the last 10 months, those looking for a scoreline bet could be well rewarded if they back a repeat of that result at 16/1.

Meanwhile, Belgium are clearly the men to back in the match betting at 5/6, with a Swedish victory (4/1) or a draw (5/2) appearing unlikely, based on the evidence.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Dave Burin

Dave graduated with an MA in English Literature at Durham University, and worked in marketing before joining the Ladbrokes News team. A Man United fan and avid groundhopper, he’s also an ardent follower of Rugby League. You can usually find him at a ground near you, clutching a big cup of tea.