Wales travel to Belgium on Thursday looking for a positive result in the hope of avoiding relegation from Nations League A.

The Dragons are bottom of Group 4 and have no chance of reaching the finals, occupying the last spot three points behind Poland in third.

They face a Belgium side tussling with the Netherlands to win the group. The two sides have met three times in the last two years through World Cup qualifying and the Nations League but have at least been kept apart in the group stages of the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

Here’s what you need to know before Thursday’s game.

A familiar-looking Belgium side is expected to take to the Brussels turf on Thursday, with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois all set to start.

However, it is an ageing Red Devils side, with former Tottenham defenders Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld – 35 and 33 of Anderlecht and Royal Antwerp respectively – still turning out in defence for manager Roberto Martinez.

Belgium Starting 11 (3-4-3): Courtois; Boyata, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Castagne, Witsel, Tielemans, Carrasco; De Bruyne, Batshuayi, E. Hazard.
Bench: Mignolet, Casteels, Denayer, Meunier, Theate, Mechele, T. Hazard, Trossard, Dendoncker, Vanaken, De Ketelaere, Mertens.

Wales boss Rob Page was unable to call on Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen, Ben Davies and Harry Wilson in his latest squad, with the quartet struggling with injuries.

Captain Gareth Bale arrived late from the United States after featuring as a substitute in LAFC’s 3-1 victory against Houston Dynamo, which kicked off at 03:30 BST on Monday. He may not be risked against Belgium as his workload is managed.

Instead, Brennan Johnson may get a chance to add to his two international goals for Wales, both scored in the Nations League.

Wales Starting 11 (3-4-3): Ward; Mepham, Rodon, Cabango; N. Williams, Ampadu, Morrell, Roberts; James, Moore, Johnson.
Bench: Hennessey, Gunter, Norrington-Davies, J. Williams, Smith, Levitt, Colwill, Bale, T. Roberts, Matondo.

Wales undeniably have bigger fish to fry this year as they prepare for a first World Cup appearance since 1958. No team likes to be relegated, but having been drawn against the Netherlands, Poland and Belgium in Group 4, it was always a strong possibility.

Belgium need to overhaul the Netherlands in top spot, sitting three points behind the Oranje before the two teams square off on Sunday, to qualify for the Nations League finals and should get a needed victory here.

Prediction: Belgium 3-0 Wales


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *