World Cup 2018 | Belgium v Panama Tips | 18th June 2018
GROUP G of the 2018 World Cup kicks-off on Monday as Belgium meet Panama in Sochi. Mark O’Haire shares his thoughts on the best betting angle.
Panama make their World Cup debut on Monday afternoon with Los Canaleros eager to avoid embarrassment. Hernan Dario Gomez’s group are ageing force in Central American football and look set to sit deep in a disciplined 5-4-1 formation in an attempt to keep the scoreline respectable.
The CONCACAF nation managed just nine goals in 10 qualifiers en-route to Russia and recorded a negative goal difference from the same sample of matches. Only Croatia (3.83) averaged fewer on-target efforts than Panama (4.13) during the preliminaries and it’s difficult to see them threatening Belgium in Sochi.
Belgium to win to nil
The obvious selection is to back Belgium to win to nil. The Red Devils are more gung-ho under Roberto Martinez’s leadership but do arrive on the biggest stage off the back of four clean sheets in five, and shouldn’t be too stretched by one of the competition’s lowest-ranked sides on Monday.
Panama have fallen to a 4-0 defeat to the USA, 5-0 thrashing by Argentina and 6-0 shellacking by Switzerland over the past two years and Los Canaleros are likely to suffer again with Belgium having plundered 43 goals across their 10 qualification fixtures.
The Red Devils won six of those outings to nil and should be capable of repeating the feat here.