Sports Mole preview Saturday’s Nations League clash between Wales and Belgium, including predictions, team news and possible line-ups.
Wales play host Belgium in which UEFA Nations League on Saturday night after back-to-back defeats in Group A4.
Although the Dragons will be happy with their World Cup spot, they need a result against a Belgian side who just beat Poland six.
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Having matched the highs they set during Euro 2016 by qualifying for the World Cup, it was always a big challenge for Wales to get a result against the Netherlands on Wednesday.
In honor of Rob Page and his team managed within seconds to secure a highly credible result in Cardiff by equalizing Rhys Norrington Davies in the 92nd minute.
However, the visitors went up right at the other end, Wout Weghorst scored the decisive goal in his side’s 2-1 victory and condemned Wales for the second straight Nations League campaign.
With Belgium and the second leg against the Netherlands still to come before 14 June, no one would be quick to criticize Wales if they continue to fall short. Five games over two weeks is a brutal end to an already busy season.
Nonetheless, Page will want to ensure her stint in the top flight in this competition isn’t short and add pressure to at least a draw against her trusted opponents.
Since September 2012, these two teams have met seven times, playing each other in three qualifying campaigns and the famous Euro 2016 quarter-finals.
Wales have more than held their own – losing just one of their last six games – but Robert MartinezThe Netherlands team seems to have an extra advantage after being defeated 4-1 at home to the Netherlands last week.
In response, Belgium came from behind on Wednesday, scoring six goals against Poland, the abandonment coming in the absence of the injured Romelu Lukaku.
The Red Devils are still three points adrift of leaders Netherlands but will certainly start the race with momentum in Cardiff.
Belgium have also scored a goal in every game over four years, most recently in the 2018 World Cup semi-final against France.
Form of the Wales Nations League:
Wales form (all competitions):
Form of the Belgian Nations League:
Belgium form (all competitions):
Gareth Bale will be one of Wales’ regulars to return to the starting line-up after a break midweek.
Ethan Ampadu, Neko Williams, Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsay should also be there but Page is struggling with the fitness of his keepers.
Adam Davis is on standby when Wayne Hennessy don’t shrug off a knock while Danny Ward is expected to be out due to knee problems.
Lukaku is absent from Belgium with an ankle injury sustained in the defeat by the Netherlands.
With a trip to Poland still to come, Martinez will make changes to his starting line-up Leandro Trossard, Thorgan Hazard and Dry Mertens possibly make up the first three.
Dedryck Boyata may face to earn a defensive appearance Jan Vertonghenwhile there is scope for Leander Dendoncker Keep moving forward to pause Youri Tielemans.
Wales possible starting line-up:
Davies; Ampadu, Rodon, Davies; Williams, Morrell, Allen, Norrington-Davies; Ramsey; James, Balle
Belgium possible starting line-up:
mignolet; Faes, Alderweireld, Boyata; Castagne, Dendoncker, Witsel, Carrasco; Trossard, Mertens, T. Hazard
We say: Wales 1-2 Belgium
With Wales likely to be as strong as possible, they should have enough quality to push their stronger opponents across the board. However, this game could be similar to the one against the Netherlands, with Belgium possibly coming out on top in the closing stages.
For a data analysis of the most likely outcomes, goal scores and more for this game, please click here.
Our expert Tipster partners at Sporita.com predict an away win in this game. Click here to find out what else they predict for this game and for more of their football best tips.Away win: data