Belgium - Finland Preview: Red Devils looking to continue winning form ahead of Euro 2016

In their penultimate warm-up friendly ahead of the European Championships, Belgium take on Finland in Brussels hoping to build on their 2-1 victory over Switzerland at the weekend.

Belgium - Finland Preview: Red Devils looking to continue winning form ahead of Euro 2016
(Picture: Getty Images)

Belgium will hope to maintain their winning form when they host Finland in the second of three warm-up friendlies in the lead-up to Euro 2016 in Brussels on Wednesday night.

The Red Devils' penultimate fixture before the short journey to France sees them take on the Finnish, who sit 61st in the FIFA World Rankings having failed to reach this summer's finals after finishing fourth in Group F behind Hungary, Romania and Northern Ireland.

On paper, it is a relatively simple fixture for Marc Wilmots' squad - who eased past Switzerland in a 2-1 win at the weekend, coming from behind to win thanks to goals from Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne.

With Belgium looking to claim their first ever major prize in the European Championships, their first finals in 16 years, momentum and confidence will be key - as well as a fluid and gelled squad.

That will be their main aim when they take on Finland at the King Baudouin Stadium in the capital, with anything but a win a failure given their opponents have lost their last four matches at the hands of Norway, Poland, Iceland and Sweden - conceding 11 and scoring none in return across that run.

Red Devils dealt injury setbacks in defence

In the build-up to this fixture, Belgium were disappointed by the injuries of defender Nicolas Lombaerts and Dedryck Boyata - joining Bjorn Engels and captain Vincent Kompany on the sidelines because of muscle injuries.

Christian Kabasel of Racing Genk has been called up to replace Lombaerts and could make his debut, although no replacement has yet been announced for Boyata - who pulled up in training earlier this week.

In defence, Thomas Vermaelen and Jason Denayer could make up the centre of defence with Tottenham Hotspur pairing Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld at left-back and right-back as Wilmots searches for a stable back-four.

De Bruyne and Hazard are both expected to feature against Finland. (Picture: Getty Images)
De Bruyne and Hazard are both expected to feature against Finland. (Picture: Getty Images)

Jordan Lukaku and Laurent Ciman could get game time later on in the game as more natural full-backs against Hans Backe's out-of-form side. Since taking over in August 2015, the 64-year-old has lost all three games he has taken charge of.

Elsewhere for Belgium, Radja Nainggolan and Yannick Carrasco are unlikely to feature against Finland, with the former out due to a calf injury sustained in Roma's end-of-season friendly against Al Ahly.

Carrasco, meanwhile, only joined the Belgian's training camp in Genk on Monday after coming off the bench to score for Atletico Madrid in their Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid on penalties on Saturday night.

Spurs' Mousa Dembele is also absent with a minor muscle tear, but should return in time to play for Belgium at the Euros while regulars such as Romelu LukakuKevin De BruyneThibaut Courtois and Axel Witsel should all feature.

Belgium have their best ever forward options this summer, says Hazard

Stand-in captain Eden Hazard will play, and in the build-up has suggested that they have their best squad in years going into the tournament.

He admitted that it's "not easy" that they have lost "the leader of the team" in Kompany, but said that France have lost Raphael Varane and added: "But, honestly, we have quality in defence and everyone in the team is ready."

The Chelsea winger insisted that "nearly everyone" in the squad is "at 100 per cent" and that they are "not worried" because in the final third they have "maybe the best generation [Belgium have ever had]."

He did however quash suggestions that Belgium, who have won six of their last seven games but haven't attended a previous Euro tournament since 2000, are favourites - saying that they are behind France who "are playing at home" and continuing: "Spain, Germany and then maybe we're just behind."

Team news is scarce for their Scandinavian opponents, but Niklas Moisander - Finland's captain - won't feature having yet to play under Backe. They will be keen to put aside a poor stretch of form as they gear up for 2018 World Cup qualifying, with all of their group opponents in France for the Euros over the summer.