Ahead of their Group E clash in Nice on Wednesday, Sweden and Belgium UAE-based fans give their verdict on the game.
To gain an insight into the mindset of the fans we asked UAE fans to share with us their predictions, likely line-ups and players to watch.
Do you agree or have they missed the mark? Use #360Fans to share with us your thoughts.
BELGIUM – Herwig Devolder (Freight Forwarder, Dubai)
Overall, it was an easy win against Ireland but to be honest it did not provide a real test for our team. We still can, and should, improve. There were of course plenty of positives in the 3-0 win, our fast counter-attacking play returned after its absence against Italy and we are so dangerous when we play on the break, exemplified by Lukaku’s second goal which saw us break from one end of the pitch to the other in only a couple of passes.
Axel Witsel also had a great game at No. 6, while Thomas Meunier played well at full-back despite not having much previous international experience. Ireland failed to get a single shot on goal, a sign that the defence finally had a good game!
Still, though, Belgium must get better at converting our dominant possession into real chances. There is certainly a chance to do that against Sweden, who have looked very ordinary so far at Euro 2016. We last played against them on home soil at Euro 2000, winning 2-1 thanks to goals from Bart Goor and Emile Mpenza. Obviously Zlatan Ibrahimovic wasn’t playing then – he can score out of nothing and I’d worry about our chances of coming back from 1-0 down.
PREDICTION: Belgium 2-1 Sweden
LIKELY BELGIUM XI: Courtois; Meunier, Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Vertongen; Witsel, Nainggolan; De Bruyne, Mertens, Hazard; Lukaku.
BELGIUM PLAYER TO WATCH: Dries Mertens – With Yannick Carrasco still injured, I’m looking forward to watching Mertens. The Napoli winger has some serious speed and can definitely cause damage to the Sweden defence.
SWEDEN PLAYER TO FEAR: Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Has anyone picked another Sweden player?! The fact he hasn’t scored yet worries me slightly. The coiled spring could be ready to surprise us.
WHERE TO WATCH THE GAME: Belgian Beer Café at Souk Madinat. Good Belgian atmosphere, beer and food.
SWEDEN – Bengt Ternstrom (Chief executive, Dubai)
Against Ireland we showed resilience but against Italy a lack of focus really cost us; it was late delight in the first game, late despair in the second. You just can’t switch off in international football and that’s what happened at the end of the game in Toulouse. Yes, it was a great strike by Eder but there is a great picture which shows five Swedish players around him when he hits it – more should have been done to stop the shot or get the block in.
Embarrassingly, Sweden are now the first team not to have mustered a single shot on target in the first two games of the European Championship since 1980. Not a favourable stat! The over-reliance on Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has just announced his international retirement after the conclusion of the tournament, is becoming unbearable, particularly as he has been totally unable to replicate the incredible form he enjoyed playing in France all season for PSG.
Victory seems unlikely but at least the point in our opening game gives us an outside chance of qualifying. It will be really tough facing a Belgium team that finally appeared to come together in unison against Ireland. Hopefully they will replicate the performance against Italy instead, where they looked a lot less cohesive.
PREDICTION: Belgium 1-1 Sweden
LIKELY SWEDEN XI: Isaksson; Lustig, Lindelof, Granqvist, Olsson; Durmaz, Kallstrom, Hiljemark, Forsberg; Berg, Ibrahimovic.
SWEDEN PLAYER TO WATCH: Kim Kallstrom – It’s time we stopped relying on Zlatan and in Grasshoppers playmaker Kallstrom we have someone who can definitely make things happen going forward. He also boasts excellent delivery from set-pieces which may prove our best hope of getting a goal.
BELGIUM PLAYER TO FEAR: Romelu Lukaku – The Everton striker opened his account at Euro 2016 in style against Ireland. He’s quick, he’s powerful, and now he’s in form too. We should be scared!
WHERE TO WATCH THE GAME: ON42 at the Media One Hotel.