5 March 2020
New Zealand W and Belgium W go head-to-head in the Algarve Cup quarter-finals at the Complexo Desportivo Belavista, which will be their first-ever head-to-head meeting.
New Zealand have suffered six consecutive defeats ahead of this match, five of which have seen them draw a blank. A lack of concentration in the second half of play has seen New Zealand concede over 1.5 second-half goals in their last three outings, with six of nine goals they’ve shipped across those fixtures coming beyond the hour mark. Tom Sermanni’s side has endured mixed fortunes in their six previous clashes against European nations (W3, L3), with the last four all yielding the exact 1-0 scoreline. In fact, the ‘clean-sheet theme’ could prove vital here, considering all but two of their last 23 results (win/loss) have seen the winner on the day shut out the losing side.
Meanwhile, ever since a 6-0 demolition to the United States back in April last year, Belgium have become a force to be reckoned with, putting together six successive matches without a loss (W5, D1). Notably, four of their five victories in that period have come via a multiple-goal margin, with Belgium scoring over 1.5 goals in both halves each time. Quick-start Belgium have opened the scoring in five of their six previous fixtures, scoring the opening goal inside the first 20 minutes of play on all of those occasions. But, the ‘Belgian Red Flames’ have been particularly vulnerable in the late stages lately, with three of their last six goals conceded coming in the final 15 minutes of play.
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