Belgium vs. Wales – prediction, team news, lineups

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In sharp contrast, Wales make the trip to Brussels aware that only maximum points will do if they want to set up a grandstand finish with Poland when it comes to avoiding relegation to League B.

Match preview

Netherlands celebrate scoring against Wales on June 8, 2022.© Reuters

During a period where they have earned a return to the World Cup Finals and spent time competing in the top tier of the Nations League, it is fair to say that Wales have achieved new heights under Robert Page.

However, the Dragons have also encountered a considerable step up in opposition, resulting in just two wins coming from their last eight outings in all competitions.

Most importantly, those successes were against Austria and Ukraine in the World Cup playoffs, but Page and his squad have accumulated just one point from a possible 12 in fixtures against Poland, Netherlands and Belgium in this competition.

That return could have been higher with last-gasp goals being conceded in each of the defeats to group leaders Netherlands, although Wales required an 86th-minute equaliser from Brennan Johnson to earn a share of the spoils in the reverse fixture against Thursday’s opponents.

These nations have squared off on six occasions since November 2014, Belgium’s solitary win during that period coming in a World Cup qualifying fixture in March 2021.

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez reacts on March 26, 2022© Reuters

The last two meetings, both held in Cardiff, ended in 1-1 draws, but Belgium are motivated to push hard for all three points given that they remain adrift of Netherlands.

A 4-1 defeat at home to their rivals on matchday one ensured that Roberto Martinez‘s side have had to play catch-up throughout this group, and they will be relatively satisfied that their fate remains in their own hands given the manner of that result.

Although the reverse fixture with Oranje is to come next week, Belgium can ill-afford to lose focus with failure to collect maximum points against Wales giving Netherlands an opportunity to secure their progress to the Finals with one match to spare.

Last time out, an early Michy Batshuayi goal proved to be the difference against Poland, and responsibility will again fall on the Fenerbahce forward with Romelu Lukaku sidelined through injury.

Team News

Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne in action with Italy's Nicolo Barella on October 10, 2021© Reuters

With a weakened team having been selected for the Poland game, a number of star men will return for Belgium, including Kevin De Bruyne.

Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois will take his place between the sticks, while Dedryck Boyata may feature in the back three with Jason Denayer still being without a club.

Yannick Carrasco is an option at left wing-back, with Eden Hazard retaining his spot further down that flank.

While Gareth Bale is expected to return to the Wales XI, Page must decide whether to start either Kieffer Moore or Johnson in the final third.

Neco Williams and Rhys Norrington-Davies could feature in the wing-back positions, unless Connor Roberts features ahead of the latter.

With Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey both absent from the squad, Joe Morrell could partner Matt Smith, who started against Netherlands, in the centre of the pitch.

Belgium possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Boyata, Vertonghen, Alderweireld; Castagne, Tielemans, Witsel, Carrasco; De Bruyne, Batshuayi, E. Hazard

Wales possible starting lineup:
Hennessey; Mepham, Ampadu, Rodon; N. Williams, Morrell, Smith, Norrington-Davies; James, Bale; Moore

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