Date: September 4, 2014
Venue: Maurice Dufrasne Stadium, Liege, Belgium
Kick off time: 19:45 BST
Belgium will prepare for their upcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers by taking on Australia in a friendly on Thursday.
Despite going further at the 2014 World Cup than any competition since 1986, there was a distinct feeling that Belgium under performed. Given the players at their disposal, viewers were left disappointed that they only managed to scrape past their first four opponents, winning by the odd goal each time. Even more puzzling was the rather limp manner of their exit at the hands of Argentina.
And yet, they made it to the quarter finals, so this is clearly a strong team capable of getting results, if not quite exhilarating the audience as some may wish or expect. They should qualify quite comfortably for the European Championships in France.
In contrast to Belgium, Australia did not win a single point at the World Cup, but there was a feeling that they performed well. When the draw was made and they were pitted alongside Holland, Chile and reigning champions Spain, there was a collective groan across Australia and a hope that they would not embarrass themselves. They certainly did not, giving Chile and especially Holland a real scare before succumbing.
The next few friendlies will focus on getting the team ready for the Asian Cup (held in Australia in early 2015), where they will be hoping to go one better than in 2011 when they lost to Japan in the final.
The list of players at the disposal of Marc Wilmots reads very impressively. They boast the best young goalkeeper in the world in Thibaut Courtois, can rely on a solid defence marshalled by captain Vincent Kompany, and have plenty of fire power with the likes of Divock Origi and Kevin Mirallas.
This is despite missing the influential attacking trio of Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Christian Benteke through injury.
Captain Mile Jedinak provides the steel in midfield while Tim Cahill, who scored an absolute corker against Holland at the World Cup, will represent their main goal threat, even at 34.
Belgium should have too much guile and quality for Australia and can be backed at 1.40 with William Hill. However, Australia are nothing if not plucky and I fancy them to have a good go, so back both teams to score at 2.05 with Bet Victor.