Five reasons to watch Belgium v Portugal on MUTV
Belgium versus Portugal promises to be an intriguing game as both sides step up their preparations for the FIFA World Cup in Russia. MUTV subscribers in the UK and Ireland can watch it live from 19:30 BST and here are five reasons why you should tune in...
1: SUPPORT OUR BOYS
Rewind to the previous World Cup in 2014 and Romelu Lukaku was engaged in a contest with Christian Benteke to be Belgium's go-to striker for the tournament. However, the latter picked up a knee injury while training for his former club, Aston Villa, and had to sit out the competition. Romelu went on to score one goal in Brazil against the USA and has since gone from strength to strength, particularly after joining United in August 2017. He bagged 27 goals in his debut season and, now, the 25-year-old hopes to maintain his good form with the national team.
In contrast, Marouane Fellaini's domestic season was hampered by a knee injury injury, but the towering midfielder returned at the back end of the campaign to score our last-gasp winner against Arsenal at Old Trafford. It will be interesting to see if Belgium manager Roberto Martinez gives the former Everton star the nod on Saturday night.
2: CATCH UP WITH ADNAN
Januzaj left United for Real Sociedad in the summer of 2017 after spending seven years at Old Trafford. In his time with the Reds, the 23-year old forward made a total of 63 appearances in all competitions and scored five goals. His big breakthrough arrived in 2013/14 under the management of David Moyes, when the Belgian made 35 appearances in all competitions, but opportunities to play were limited under the leadership of Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, leading to loans spells at Borussia Dortmund and Sunderland.
Unfortunately, it did not work out for Adnan at Old Trafford and he is now at Real Sociedad on a permanent basis. But he looks to have found his feet with the Basque side, after playing 35 times and scoring four goals in 2017/18, including one in the Europa League against Salzburg. His performances in Spain have caught the eye of Martinez, who has named him into the preliminary 28-man squad for the World Cup.
3: DISTINGUISHED OPPOSITION
Cristiano Ronaldo won his fifth UEFA Champions League title last weekend when Real Madrid beat Liverpool in Kiev, Ukraine, and the ex-Red now hopes to cap another vintage campaign by winning the World Cup with Portugal. It will be intriguing to see if Portugal manager, Fernando Santos, throws him straight into the starting XI,brings him off the bench or rests him altogether. Nani, who made over 200 appearances for the Reds between 2007 and 2014, has unfortunately missed out on the squad, despite enjoying a decent season with Lazio.
4: AN ABUNDANCE OF QUALITY
As you would expect from two teams with a realistic chance of winning the World Cup, expect to see a wide range of Premier League and European talents on display. Belgium have the likes of Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne and Chelsea's Eden Hazard at their disposal, plus Tottenham Hotspur's Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld. Meanwhile, Portugal's squad includes Bernardo Silva of Manchester City, plus Bruno Fernandes of Sporting, AS Monaco's Joao Moutinho and former Real Madrid defender Pepe. Tonight's match should be high in quality.
5: IT'S FOOTBALL!
The off-season may have just begun and, while the World Cup is only a matter of days away, we are already craving football. With two sides as closely matched as this, Saturday should be by no means a 'dead-rubber' friendly.
Watch Belgium v Portugal live from 19:30 BST on MUTV.com, Sky channel 418 and Virgin Media channel 526 for subscribers in the UK and Ireland.