King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels
16th November 2014, 22:30 IST
The Welsh are topping their Euro group and will travel to Belgium on the 16th for a taste of their Waffles. However with a few inform stars on their side the Belgians will pose a threat to the British visitors.
With 7 points and topping the table undefeated, Wales are the strongest team in their group and will look to ensure their unbeaten run isn’t ruined. Belgium however are also undefeated, having playing a game lesser than Wales, will look to catch up to their opponents and establish their dominance. Belgium is the favourite with a larger number of big league stars like Eden Hazard, Courtios and Fellaini, who also happen to be in form. However Wales travelling on the shoulder of playmaker Aaron Ramsey and winger Bale will pose a threat to the Belgians.
Team News, Tactics and Line-ups
Belgium will be without the leadership of Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany who has been ruled out due to a calf strain. However they are more than able to compensate the loss by either using Jan Vertonghen at that preferred position or Zenith defender Lomberts to play center back alongside Southampton star Alderweireld. Vanden Borre will complete the back four as the choice right back. Courtois will be the obvious choice of Goalkeeper to continue his inform run with Chealsea.
Being the toughest game of their group, the Belgium manager will opt to play his strongest squad. Playing a 4-1-4-1 formation, Axel Witsel will play the defensive anchor ahead of the back four to negate Bale from the game will be one of his main priorities. Dembele and Fellaini will play the two center- mid roles. With Fellaini playing better in a more advanced role for United, Wilmots will probably give him the freedom to play in an almost number 10 position. Dembele’s deepl lying playmaking abilities will prove useful here as he welcomes his Tottenham compatriot Nacer Chadli who has been scoring regularly for his club to his right. All of Belgium’s show will come mostly from the left through their talisman, Chelsea’s Eden Hazard who will complete the 5 man midfield.
The lone striker will be Everton’s Romelu Lukaku. With his ability to hold the ball up alone and a threatening set of skills, he will be lethal against Wales. They would also have the Villa star Benteke and youngster Origi at their disposal.
Predicted Line up: Courtois, Vertonghen, Lomberts, Alderwierld, Vanden Borre; Witsel, Dembele, Fellaini, Chadli, Hazard; Lukaku;
Wales are in the presence of the world’s most expensive player, Gareth Bale. They will look to capitalise on his presence by feeding all the balls to him and allowing him to carry the game for the country.
The Welsh will use a flexible 4-3-3 formation to counter whatever Belgium has to throw at them. With crystal palace keeper Hennessy at goal, Wales will play a back four of James Chester and Ashley Williams at center, while Swansea City’s Neil Taylor will play left back. Chris Gunter of Reading will play right back and hope to keep tabs on Nacer Chadli.
With Andy King picking up a red in the previous game, he will be unavailable for this game. However with Joe Allen and Aron Ramsey available, The Wales manager will opt to play Ramsey center, Allen left and Robson Kanu on the right of the midfield trio.
Ahead of them will be the three attacking players Joe Ledley on the left, Simon Church who was injured the previous game is doubtful. Hence to replace him will be Swansea’s David Cotterill at center and Gareth Bale on the right. Joe Ledley has been somewhat of a threat, however majority of their attack will come from their star Gareth Bale who will look to use his pace to outrun half the team and unleash his thunderous left foot.
Predicted Line-up: Hennessy, Taylor, Chester, Williams, Gunter; Allen, Ramsey, Robson-Kanu; Ledley, Cotterill, Bale;
Player To Watch
Hazard has been unstoppable for Chelsea, his pace and trickery is no doubt what makes him the most skilful player in the current premier league season. He will look to carry the team forward and ensure all three points are secured. The presence of a skilful team will probably have an edge over Bale as he might not have to worry too much on the defensive front.
Gareth Bale is a match winner and that is just what Wales need. He has singly carried Tottenham a season ago to their 5th place finish and there is no doubt he can do wonders for Wales. With the help of Ramsey, Bale will get his regular supply of through balls and quick passes that may enable him to run circles aroung the Belgian defense.
Belgium 2-1 Wales
With a better goal keeper and a more skilful team, Belgium will have an edge over Wales and will go ahead within the first half. Bale however will ensure they either equalize or score a solitary goal only to lose the game. With players like Origi, Janujaz coming off the bench, they have more than enough fire power to counter anything thrown at them. Belgium are the stronger side on paper and will definitely be the stronger team on the field as well.