Belgium are in demand of a victory against Wales to keep them in contention for the playoff spot in the Nations League.
Michy Batshuayi’s strike in the 16th minute was enough for the Red Devils to secure a 1-0 win against Poland in their last game while Wales were on the wrong end of a 3-2 thriller against the Netherlands.
BEL vs WAL Match Details
Date: Thursday, 22 September 2022 / Friday, 23 September 2022
Time: 20:45 (CET) / 00:15 (IST)
Venue: Stade Roi Baudouin, Brussels
BEL vs WAL Match Preview
Roberto Martinez knows this is the last time the supposedly golden generation of Belgium football will win silverware in World Cup Qatar to prove their authority of being the number one team in the world in terms of FIFA rankings although that too has been snatched from them by Brazil recently. It is a far cry for the squad witnessing a deterioration of their star players of the 2018 edition. Only playmaker Kevin de Bruyne and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois are performing on a consistent basis since and are undroppable players for their respective clubs. Eden Hazard still gets into the setup hardly being in the first team picture for Real Madrid but Romelu Lukaku’s underwhelming period at Chelsea after the European Championship has restricted his call up to the national side. Belgium have to do it all with their current group of players from here till the World Cup in November. Barring injuries or a late performer, the same squad is expected to be on the plane to Qatar grouped with tough opposition like Croatia, Canada and Morocco in Group F. The remaining games of the group stages in the Nations League needs to be taken care of firstly as those are the only preparatory games to test the squad. The Red Devils trail the top-placed Netherlands by three points in their Nations League group and a win in their next game against Wales will take them level on points with 10 before their showdown against the Dutch next week. Anything other than a win will derail their chance of moving into the next round of the competition. This makes this a fascinating encounter as Belgium will go for the victory to make a statement to the rest competing in the mega show. They have to win or else wish Poland beat the Netherlands in the other game to be in contention. Belgium won’t be asking for better preparation for the World Cup if they manage to secure the desired result in these two games of the Nations League.
Robert Page’s Wales will be relegated to League B if they fail to avoid defeat against the Red Devils or draw their game with a simultaneous Poland’s victory against the Netherlands. Staying bottom with just one point from four games in the Nations League is the only low point Wales are experiencing in an otherwise historical year for them. The Dragons beat Ukraine in the World Cup playoffs none other than Gareth Bale’s free-kick forcing Andriy Yarmolenko to head into his own net to send themselves to the main event in Qatar for the first time since 1958. Head coach Robert Page’s position was also made permanent than his previously held interim role this month after achieving incredible heights with his team. Although, the wins over Ukraine and Austria prior are the only ones managed this year. In the Nations League, Wales put up a decent fight against the other top opponents in their group but lapses of concentration and late goals have haunted them so far. Robert Page will try to ensure his side keeps their discipline for the entirety of the game and earn them their first win in the competition. These fixtures are matches to prepare for the World Cup in Qatar and facing Belgium and Poland will show levels for Wales before taking on USA, Iran and rivals England in the showpiece. The Dragons will be looking onto Gareth Bale to turn up on big occasions as he did in their qualification to the World Cup giving himself the true legend tag for his nation. The 1-1 draw against Belgium was the only point they managed in June other than the two close call defeats to the Netherlands and against Poland in the opening game. The record for Wales against the Red Devils is fairly even although Belgium have only won once in last five meetings, scoring and conceding in each. On the basis of that, Wales are dreaming of a win on Thursday to keep them away from the drop.
BEL vs WAL Team News
Belgium are able to call up big players for the Nations League games this month having rested few in June this year although striker Romelu Lukaku remains out of the picture partially due to a hamstring injury that will keep him out until October since making the switch back to Inter Milan from Chelsea this summer. Eden Hazard has been included despite only playing 150 minutes this season with Real Madrid to add experience in the attack containing a series of young talents or players with less experience in international football. The recognizable back three of Dedrick Boyata, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld remain while Jason Denayer is also included still being without a club.
Wales will have their marksman Gareth Bale in the team after playing his last game for Los Angeles FC prior to the international break just two days before. He came off the bench past the hour mark in the 3-1 win over Houston Dynamo in MLS. Wayne Hennessey is set to exceed his 100th cap with Wales in goal ahead of Danny Ward in bad form with his club Leicester. Robert Page has not included Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey in the squad with the latter suffering another injury blow with his new club Nice. Joe Morell and Matt Smith is their replacement in the midfield.
BEL vs WAL Predicted Lineups
BEL: Thibaut Courtois; Dedrick Boyata, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld; Timothy Castagne, Youri Tielemans, Axel Witsel, Yannick Carrasco; De Bruyne, Michy Batshuayi, Leandro Trossard
WAL: Wayne Hennessey; Joe Rodon, Ethan Ampadu, Ben Davies; Nico Williams, Joe Morrell, Matt Smith, Norrington-Davies; Daniel James, Gareth Bale; Kieffer Moore
BEL vs WAL Dream11 Team Prediction
GK: Courtois (7.5)
DEF: Norrington-Davies (8), Alderweireld (7.5), Vertonghen (8), Davies (8)
MID: Trossard (8), De Bruyne (9), Morrell (8), Tielemans (8.5), Carrasco (8)
FW: Bale (9)
Captain: De Bruyne
Vice-captain: Gareth Bale