Wales v Belgium – Stade Pierre Mauroy at 20:00 live on
Wales and Belgium will continue their rivalry from the qualifying stages of this tournament on Friday night in the second quarter final at the Stade Pierre Mauroy.
It is arguably the best draw Wales could have got from the top teams left in the competition after holding Belgium to a 0-0 in Brussels and defeating them 1-0 in Cardiff last June. The mood is already excellent in the Dragons camp and they will come into this match confident they can inflict another defeat on the Belgians. Despite their record against Belgium though, they are 5.85 underdogs here.
Chris Colesman’s side weren’t at their best in the last 16, narrowly defeating Northern Ireland, needing a late own goal to do so. It was a far from impressive display, especially in attack, registering just one shot on target. The performance was reminiscent of what we saw in qualifying from the Welsh and a similar, defensive display is expected tomorrow.
After conceding against Slovakia and England in their first 2 matches, Wales now have two clean sheets in a row and will be hoping for a third tomorrow.
Since Belgium’s opening match defeat at the hands of Italy, they have won 3 in a row at an aggregate score of 8-0. Marc Wilmots and his side were heavily criticised after their 2-0 reverse against the Azzurri, but looking back at it now, maybe it wasn’t as bad as people made out. They had plenty of opportunities in that match which weren’t taken but they have made up for it since.
They also have 3 clean sheets, the last coming in possibly the best performance we’ve seen so far in Euro 2016, when defeating Hungary 4-0. The Red Devils’ key players are all hitting top form at the right time and more importantly, they are starting to gel as a team, something that was clearly missing against Italy.
There are still question marks over Wilmots’ tactical knowledge and despite their current form and improving performances, this will be a tough match against a Welsh side who got the better of them twice in qualifying.
I think this one will be close and largely dominated by the defences. There is no doubt that Belgium have more class throughout their squad and it will just be a case of whether they can play as they did against the Hungarians. They justify their favouritism and I wouldn’t put people off backing them at 1.79 to win in 90 minutes.
There is more value on the second half Asian Handicap betting market though as Wales will be tough to break down. The 3 goals that the Dragons have conceded in their 4 matches have all come after 56 minutes and I think Belgium will need to wear them down before getting the job done in normal time.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Belgium -0.5 2nd half at 2.10
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