The 2021-22 UEFA Nations League is officially underway and we already have some tantalizing fixtures on hand. In Group A4, Belgium vs Netherlands highlight Friday’s action as the two sides clash in their first competitive game in over 20 years, having previously only played each other in international friendles.

The Belgians failed to live up to expectations at Euro 2020, losing to eventual winners Italy in the quarterfinals in disappointing fashion. But, they will see this Nations League campaign as a fantastic tune-up for the World Cup in Qatar later this year. The Dutch meanwhile also faltered at the Euros, tasting defeat to the Czech Republic in the Round of 16. They’re also heading to Qatar though after missing out on the 2018 edition in Russia.

Here are 3 predictions for Belgium vs Netherlands on Friday in Brussels.

3 Belgium vs Netherlands predictions

Kevin De Bruyne scores

Between these two sides, Kevin De Bruyne is easily the most in-form player of the whole lot. The Manchester City midfielder was just named the Premier League Player of the Year following a breathtaking campaign where he scored 15 goals and supplied eight assists en route to winning another title. For Belgium, De Bruyne is almost always clinical as well.

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He netted once and tallied two assists in Euro 2020 and also scored twice and laid on two more in World Cup qualifying in just four appearances. The Red Devils aren’t the same team of the past, but De Bruyne is perhaps the best midfielder on the globe at the moment. His ability to release his strikers with picture-perfect through balls and bang home goals at a high rate is uncanny, especially this term. Expect the City star to flourish on Friday and play a huge factor in the outcome for Belgium.

Lukaku shows promise

It was a miserable first season at Chelsea for romelu lukaku after making a big-money move from Inter Milan in the summer of 2021. Between injuries and inconsistent play, he fell down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge, scoring just eight Premier League goals in 26 appearances, making a mere 16 starts for the Blues. Despite that, Lukaku is always clinical with Belgium. He’s the country’s all-time leading goal scorer with a phenomenal 68 strikes in only 101 appearances.

Lukaku always shows up for the Red Devils. Considering the lack of minutes he got at Chelsea, you can’t expect him to just step in and start scoring goals right away for Roberto Martinez’s side again. But, the striker will make his presence felt on Friday against a strong Dutch backline. Whether he finds the back of the net remains to be seen however you will see Lukaku look like his old self of some sorts in more comfortable surroundings with the national team.

Belgium vs Netherlands ends in a stalemate

There are boatloads of quality on both of these squads. That being said, most of them just finished up a grueling league campaign only about a week ago. The Nations League is important but this won’t likely be a goal-filled encounter. Also, Belgium and Netherlands have very solid backlines. De Bruyne and Co. are likely going to have more opportunities, especially playing in front of the home crowd in Brussels but the Dutch will hold their own. As this Nations League campaign begins, expect this match to end in a low-scoring draw.