Wales are now the only home nation remaining in Euro 2016 and face Belgium this Friday in their quarter-final clash. Being huge underdogs, what must Chris Coleman's side do to get a win?
There is no doubt that Belgium and their star-studded team will be favourites to progress to the semi-finals and despite a slow start to the tournament, found some form against Hungary by thumping them 4-0.
The boys in red faced Belgium twice during the Euro qualifiers, drawing 0-0 at the King Baudouin Stadium and recording an historic 1-0 victory in Cardiff.
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250 word test article: https://gms.to/haveyoursay5
How can Wales repeat such a victory against a Belgium that boasts illustrious precision and speed through Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Dries Mertens?
Despite keeping a clean sheet in their victory over Hungary, Wales will take confidence from how open Belgium’s defence was. The Hungarians managed 16 shots on target against Marc Wilmots' first choice defence.
Thomas Vermaelen’s booking and Jan Vertonghen's ankle injury means there will be a reshuffle at the back.
Belgium’s front men don’t work as hard in defence as they do going forward which should create holes for Welsh playmakers Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen to feed the likes of Gareth Bale to drive at the defenders.
If Wales are to win Bale will need to continue his excellent form, picking the ball up from deep and running at defenders with pace. Against Russia, we saw him do this very effectively – if he wasn’t beating players he was winning free kicks and earning useful territory for his side.
It looks as if Wales captain, Ashley Williams will be fit for the quarter-final clash after overcoming a shoulder injury which will be a huge boost for Coleman. The Dragons must keep their defence higher up the pitch to shut down the space De Bruyne and Hazard.
They must also prevent Lukaku having too much time on the ball – given time the Everton forward is capable of scoring goals from almost anywhere around the box.
As the game will go on, the fatigued legs of both teams will have an impact, as Belgium proved against Hungary, their bench has plenty of options to provide more pace and power.
Wales will hope to have the game won early on or face waves of attacks reminiscent to those they faced against England, which could ultimately finish with the same result.
Bale, Ramsey and Allen will need to play a leading role if the underdogs are to cause an upset.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms