England will be cheered on by the 90,000 fans at Wembley Stadium Saturday as they host Belgium for an international friendly before Euro 2012, which kicks off for England beginning June 8.
Where: Wembley Stadium, London
When: Saturday, June 8, 12:15 p.m. EDT
Live Stream: Foxsoccer.tv
Tough Task Ahead
New coach Roy Hodgson will be welcomed by the Wembley faithful Saturday for his first home match since being named to his newly appointed title.
Dating all the way back to WWII, the Three Lions are unbeaten against Belgium in regular time in 10 tries. England has only lost two matches to Belgium all time. The first was a 3-2 score in May 1936 and a 0-0 (4-3 on penalties) result in May 1998.
In five matches at home against Belgium, the Three Lions have tallied 19 goals. They also have won six straight pre-tournament matches and are unbeaten in 21 straight dating back to May 1990.
Key Factor: Ashley Young
With the absence of Wayne Rooney, look for winger Ashley Young to take hold of the reins of the Three Lions’ offensive attack. Young is a really good ball-handler who makes plenty of good through balls or crosses. Also, he’ll be depended on to change the pace of the game in their favor, something that will be manageable to do against Belgium.
Young is an offensive force and recently has provided big goals for the international squad. Of the eight goals scored in their last six matches, Young has totaled four of them.
Look for Young to change the pace of the match to see what works against Belgium in preparation for France in England's Euro 2012 opener.
Hazard Set For Chelsea
Eden Hazard, who played for French club Lille in Ligue 1, is reportedly set to join Chelsea and make an impact on the Barclays Premier League.
However, he’ll have a chance to make some noise early against some future teammates when he steps into Wembley on Saturday.
The 21-year old Hazard is a back-to-back French Ligue 1 Player of the Year and was heavily sought after by all the Premier League clubs, including Manchester United.
However, his attention moved toward Chelsea and reportedly is near jumping over in the near future.
In 38 league games this year, Hazard netted 20 goals and tacked on 16 more assists to lead them to a third-place regular-season finish in the Ligue 1 table.
Look for Hazard to play a key role for Belgium as the friendly match develops.
Prediction: England 3, Belgium 0
The Three Lions are just too good for Belgium. Even with Hazard on the offensive attack, Young and the others for England will look to make the pace of the game theirs and to attack from the get-go. Expect England to control the ball for a majority of the match and for their defense to keep the ball away from Hazard as much as possible.
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