Wales vs Belgium – Quarter final – 8pm (BBC) – 01.07.16 – Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille
After topping a group that contained rivals England, all that was left for Wales to do in their first appearance at a tournament since 1958 was to go at least one step further than their next door neighbours.
But if they were to reach the quarter finals, another home nation stood in their way – Northern Ireland.
A rather drab Round of 16 match, the only real moment of magic came from Wales’ talisman Gareth Bale, whose sublime cross was turned into his own net by Gareth McAuley to ensure Chris Coleman’s men safe passage to the next round.
England’s 2-1 loss to Iceland on Monday means Wales have gone further than England in an international tournament at the first time of asking since 1958 and they look good value for it, too.
Ashley Williams has been marshaling his defence, playing on against Northern Ireland despite being unable to use his left arm for the last ten minutes following a clash with teammate Johnny Williams.
While it was another moment of magic from Real Madrid galactico Bale that saw his side snatch a victory, though this became the first game at Euro 2016 in which he hasn’t found the back of the net himself..
Wales’ opponents Belgium, however, seem to have finally hit their stride following a string of underwhelming performances.
The Red Devils began their campaign with a 2-0 loss to Italy in their opening game of Group E.
But, just as supporters began to think it would be a repeat of their poor showing at the 2014 World Cup, Belgium turned on the style.
A 3-0 win against Republic of Ireland was followed up by a 1-0 victory over Sweden to finish second in their group behind Italy only on their head-to-head record, and Belgium’s passage to the quarter finals was confirmed with a 4-0 battering of Hungary.
It appears that Marc Wilmots’ side may finally be living up to their expectations.
Eden Hazard has found the form that won him the 2014 PFA Young Player of the Year award, Kevin De Bruyne is putting in the kind of performances that saw him win Manchester City’s player of the month award twice last season and Toby Alderweireld is demonstrating exactly why he was named in the Premier League’s team of the season.
Previously regarded as a collective group of individuals, De Rode Duivels are now starting to gel as a team and that’s something that should worry Wales supporters.
But nobody can guarantee exactly what Belgian side will turn up and if Wales can continue this sizzling run of form we should be in for a good game.
Recommendation: Over 2.5 goals at 2.25
Wales to win and both teams to score at 10.00
Bale to Score & Wales to Win in 90 mins at 9.00
Belgium, France, Germany & Portugal All to Win in 90 mins at 12.00
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Start Time : 08:01 Thursday 30th June
Time : 20:00 Friday 1st July
Friday 1st July
8am – 12pm – Belgium to score 3 or more goals WAS 4,50 NOW 5.00
12pm – 3pm – Wales to qualify WAS 3.25 NOW 3.75
- Wales were unbeaten against Belgium in their two head-to-head Euro 2016 qualifiers
- This is the first time these teams have met in the finals of a major tournament.
- Wales and Belgium’s last three encounters have produced only three goals.
- Wales have lost only two of their nine games at major tournaments, both by a one-goal difference
- Wales only had one shot on target in their last game against Northern Ireland, it was from a Gareth Bale free-kick.
- All three goals conceded by Wales at Euro 2016 have come from the 56th minute onwards. They’ve also all been scored by substitutes.
- Belgium haven’t conceded a single goal in their last three games, their longest run of clean sheets at major tournaments.
- Belgium have won seven of their last nine games at major tournaments, that’s as many victories as in their previous 23 games
- Since Belgium’s defeat to Italy in their opening game at Euro 2016, the Red Devils have scored eight goals and conceded none. They are the top scoring side in the quarter finals
- Seven of Belgium’s eight goals at Euro 2016 have been scored after half-time, including six in the last half hour.
- Aaron Ramsey has scored/assisted three of the last five goals netted by Welsh players.
- Kevin De Bruyne is directly involved in 12 goals in his last 12 games with Belgium
- Hazard has scored/assisted four of Belgium’s last six goals at Euro 2016