Two of the top international teams in the world will compete in a friendly when Belgium host Colombia on Thursday night.
Both sides are ranked in the top five in the FIFA world rankings, a position that will be extremely important for seeding at the 2014 World Cup.
Colombia qualified for the prestigious tournament for the first time since 1998 with a second-place finish behind Argentina in CONMEBOL qualifying. Meanwhile, Belgium were one of the first European squads to earn a trip to Brazil after a dominating performance in Group A of UEFA qualifying.
With a bid to the World Cup secured, these two teams next have to worry about improving and finding the right group of players to make the trip to Brazil.
There will be a lot on the line, even in an exhibition match, so here is what you need to know in order to enjoy the competition.
When: Thursday, Nov. 14 at 3 p.m. ET; 8 p.m. BST
Where: King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium
Watch: ESPN Deportes
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Odds (via SkyBet): Belgium (Even), Colombia (11-4), Draw (12-5)
Top Storyline: Can Belgium Survive Without Experienced Defenders?
According to Peter Thompson of Goal.com, Belgium will be shorthanded defensively in Thursday's match. Captain Vincent Kompany is out with a thigh injury and Thomas Vermaelen is doubtful due to a calf injury.
Not only are these two players among the best in the world at their positions, but they also have something few others on their squad have—experience against elite competition.
Kompany and Vermaelen have each proven themselves in the English Premier League and Champions League for Manchester City and Arsenal, respectively. Their proven success makes them both leaders on the pitch for an otherwise young roster.
Young players like Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen are capable of stepping up in the meantime, and there is leadership from Daniel van Buyten, but the losses of Kompany and Vermaelen will be noticed. That will especially be true against a great attack led by Radamel Falcao.
Prediction: Belgium 2, Colombia 1
Despite the fact that neither side was at the 2010 World Cup, Belgium and Colombia both have a chance at contending for the 2014 World Cup.
Belgium especially could make a deep run with an attack that features Eden Hazard creating plays for forwards Christian Benteke, Romelu Lukaku and others. While this group is young, it is also extremely talented with a proven ability to succeed at a high level.
Colombia displayed a great defense throughout qualifying, but they were not quite as good away from home. They could also have trouble containing Belgium's variety of scorers.
Of course, the Colombians have their own talent on the offensive end. Falcao has proven to be one of the top goalscorers in the world, and he receives plenty of help from James Rodriguez, Jackson Martinez and others.
Unfortunately for Colombia, they will not have enough offense to stick with the Belgians in this one.
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