Wales VS Belgium Prediction
Belgian Red Devils may feel almost at home when in Friday night Marc Wilmots’ men are heading to Lille for the second quarter-final at UEFA Euro 2016 – Belgium vs Wales. For example city of Kortrijk is on just 25 km northeast of Lille and both cities are part of same transnational Eurodistrict. We can easily notice that Belgians are playing at home but Wales can’t complain from lack of massive support, not at all, so it’s pretty sure that “Stade Pierre-Mauroy” near Lille will be crowded and whole area as well.
Both teams were in same group of the Euro 2016 qualifying and they have some recent meetings from high importance which shows how good knowledge both sides have for each other. Moreover, Wales and Belgium were in the same qualifying group for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and managerial duel between Marc Wilmots and Chris Coleman isn’t something new. Of course, their previous meetings can’t compare with part of current quarter-final game at the main stage and that’s admittedly their most important match up ever.
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1/4 Final position of Wales comes for the first time since 1958
“Dragons” from Wales kept two clean sheets in their Euro 2016 qualifiers against Belgium and this show that Belgium can’t be determined for such a favorite, not even after their winning streak. Wales looks very well-organized and firmly tight and the overall contribution of Gareth Bale makes him one of the most important Euro 2016 figures so far.
Real Madrid’s superstar is real leader of his team and he scored in every group game and he contributed for the winning goal against Northern Ireland. Virtually that was with his “assistance”, although Gareth McAuley scored an own-goal in that game. Thus Wales not only passed the Euro 2016 group stage but they even reached the quarter-final and Chris Coleman’s men are still in the big game. After two clean sheets in the 3:0 win over Russia and the 1/8 final against “The Green and White Irish Army”, Wales will play with even bigger self-confidence and Chris Coleman must squeeze it from his players.
He sticks to the 3-5-2 formation used from the first Euro 2016 day of Wales (2:1 win vs Slovakia) and in the qualifying as well, so we don’t expect any rotations in such a moment. This game comes with exceptional importance for the Welsh team and all their fans and everyone in the country believes that Wales will repeat the same from the qualifiers.
Welsh medical team will have to do everything possible to have captain Ashley Williams recovered, following the shoulder injury he got during the 1-0 win over Northern Ireland. Expectations that he’ll be fit and will take his position next to Ben Davies and James Chester.
Chris Coleman will hardly consider any changes in midfield and the most regular thoughts he discuss with his assistants is for the attacking position. Indeed, top position of Wales’ attack has been the most inconsistent from all zones and Chris Coleman will once again pick between names of Sam Vokes, Hal Robson-Kanu, George Williams and Simon Church. Vokes started against Northern Ireland but Robson-Kanu entered on his position and we believe that Chris Coleman can continue within same style of rotations.
However, Gareth Bale looks as the most important player and his presence between midfield and attack plays crucial role for Wales. So this pretty much mans that Belgian defenders and even midfielders will have special attention on him, which can open some spaces for the EPL trio in midfield – Joe Allen, Joe Ledley and Aaron Ramsey, who form the hidden weapon of Welsh team.
Belgium hinted about their Euro 2016 purposes and Wales comes on target
Despite all criticism towards Marc Wilmots and his selection after the defeat from Italy, Belgium successfully shows mentality and The Red Devils can boast with three consecutive victories, eight goals scored and not even one goal conceded in their net. This makes Belgium team with most goals at Euro 2016 and Wales is the one behind them – respectively with 8 and 7 goals scored after four Euro 2016 fixtures so far.
Marvelous achievement after 12 years off the main scene by Belgium and their quarter-final place in Brazil, Marc Wilmots and presence of all world class players in the team surely triggers much higher expectations.
Eden Hazard seems on fire and his efforts in the 4-0 win over Hungary were simply outstanding. Of course, he was not the only one who contributed for that success but he was simply flawless and expectations are that he’ll be biggest threat for Wales once again. Unfortunately Hazard missed training earlier in the week due to a thigh problem but he should be ready to start against Wales as the left winger in the preferred 4-2-3-1 formation by Marc Wilmots. Right wing position opens serious question for Belgium and Dries Mertens who started against Hungary can be replaced by Yannick Carrasco, who came as substitution of Mertens, but he impressed for the time he was on the field, as Atleti’s winger even stuck the last nail in Hungary’s coffin. Kevin De Bruyne was another player who showed brilliance behind the striker and he assisted for two of the Belgian goals. Romelu Lukaku couldn’t score but we don’t think that he’ll be dropped from the starting eleven, although Michy Batshuayi brought quick impact on the score.
Classy performance in midfield where Axel Witsel and Radja Nainggolanwere totally dominating so the last question which Marc Wilmots has on mind is definitely concerning Thomas Vermaelen’s absence. Barcelona’s defender received another yellow card and this requires proper decision by Belgian coach who can decide who’ll start against Wales. He can decide will he use Jan Vertonghen next to his Tottenham teammate Toby Alderweireld (in heart of Belgian defense) or he’ll name him as a left back again. First occasion will open space for Romelu Lukaku’s brother – Jordan Lukaku, while if Vertonghen takes the LB role Jason Denayer looks as the most reliable choice for Alderweireld’s partner. Thomas Meunier has benefited from the credit he won from Wilmots and Club Brugge’s right defender looks solid on his favorite position so far. At the place which seemed to been the most inconsistent zone of Belgian XI.
Latest news: Jan Vertonghen will miss the 1/4 final game against Wales and not only, since he sustained an ankle injury in training, leaving Marc Wilmots without another key defender.
H2H: Wales and Belgium have clearly expressed rivalry in the last years
Both nations have pretty impressive history for only quarter century as in period 1990-2016 Wales and Belgium have met 10 times and all their games were in the different qualifiers, mostly World Cup. However, last time they were in the same qualifying stream in Group B where were occupying the top two positions in the final standings and thus they won direct promotion for Euro 2016. Belgium finished on top while Wales were on only two points behind but “The Dragons” can be delighted from their record against Belgium – 0:0 draw in Brussels, followed by the narrow success of Wales in June 2015, when Gareth Bale captured huge mistake in Belgium’s defense, which somehow reminds to the mistake made by Wales in their only defeat so far – preceding Jamie Vardy’s equalizer in the 1:2 loss from England in Group B of the main Euro 2016 tournament.
Both teams were together in the qualifiers for Euro 1992 and in the qualifying campaigns for three World Cups (1994, 1998 and 2014), as the overall balance from these 10 games shows three wins for Wales, three draws and four wins for Belgium. Last from them was four years ago when The Red Devils won in Cardiff City and this was the first scuffle between Chris Coleman and Marc Wilmots – 2:0 after goals by Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen (both assists were of Mertens) but we must underline that James Collins had an early bath, after being sent off in 26th minute.
Both names were involved in another game as players when both teams met in another qualifier leading to France, when Belgium won with 3:2 and winning goal was scored exactly by Marc Wilmots. Unfortunately, Chris Coleman was on the bench for Wales but his name was also featured in that team list.
Euro 2016: Wales vs Belgium – Possible squads and betting tip
We’re in the eve ahead another edition of the duel between Chris Coleman and Marc Wilmots where they’re both all-in. Cards on the table and one from both nations will have to show bigger desire to reaching the first semi-final in Lyon.
Belgium and Wales are teams who have scored highest number of goals at Euro 2016 so far and we saw huge superiority in the 1/8 final between Belgium and Hungary, where Belgians showed their huge potential, likewise they did in the second half against Ireland.
Wales scored in every game so far and if awards had to be given at this moment, then Gareth Bale would surely won the prize for best player at Euro 2016. However, Bale must contribute even more and his presence is vital for Wales.
Final conclusion and betting prediction
All these thoughts are making the game even more unpredictable and Wales’ belief apparently continue to grow in every next match, although they had some difficulties against Northern Ireland. In that game we saw something typical for big teams which are usually winning that kind of games, when there aren’t some promising scoring chances and you have to outwit your opposition.
Winner of this quarter-final will play against the winner of Poland and Portugal, so both teams have one unbelievable chance on the horizon, since they’re not in the bottom part of the draw where all major favorites for winning Euro 2016 can be found.
We can receive better value in suggested odds for Both teams to score – Yes. Belgium have been favored by the bookies and most of the football analysts, but we believe that Wales won’t give up without battle and that’s why we found much better value to include Both teams to score as main selection into our betting slip.
Referee: Damir Skomina from Slovenia.
Venue: “Stade Pierre-Mauroy”, Villeneuve-d’Ascq, Lille.
Possible starting lineups of Wales and Belgium
Wales: Wayne Hennessey – James Chester, Ashley Williams (c), Ben Davies – Chris Gunter, Joe Allen, Joe Ledley, Aaron Ramsey, Neil Taylor – Hal Robson-Kanu, Gareth Bale. (3-5-2)
Belgium: Thibaut Courtois – Jan Vertonghen, Jason Denayer, Toby Alderweireld, Thomas Meunier – Radja Nainggolan, Axel Witsel – Eden Hazard (c), Kevin De Bruyne, Yannick Ferreira Carrasco – Romelu Lukaku. (4-2-3-1)