Wales have the ability to beat Belgium

On Friday, July 1, Wales will have a meeting with football history. Gareth Bale and his team-mates take on Belgium in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals, and have a serious chance of advancing to the last four.

The European Championships in France are just Wales’ second international tournament. The previous one was the 1958 World Cup, where they made it to the quarter-finals by finishing second in their group behind Sweden. The Dragons went on to lose to Brazil in Gothenburg due to the first World Cup goal by the famous Pele, just after the hour mark.

Belgium’s Golden Generation with the likes of Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Axel Witsel, Radja Nainggolan and Romelu Lukaku could make Wales suffer the same faith in Lille on Friday. However, Wales have been somewhat of a “black beast” for the Red Devils in recent history.

Both national teams faced each other in the qualification fases for the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016. Belgium were able to beat Wales only once, a 2-0 win at the Millennium Stadium on September 7, 2012, with goals from Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen, while James Collins received a red card in the 26th minute.

Since then, Wales were able to pick up two draws and one win. The encounter ended 1-1 in Brussels on October 15, 2013, with a late goal by Aaron Ramsey and the Dragons playing without Bale. The same fixture ended 0-0 on November 16, 2014, despite both teams creating some solid chances to score.

But the definite game that Belgium and Wales fans will remember, is the Dragons’ 1-0 win on June 12, 2015, in Cardiff. Bale scored the games’ only goal after a poor Nainggolan header. It sent Wales three points clear at the top of their qualification group with four games remaining.

Despite Belgium winning Group B in the end, with Wales finishing second, and the Red Devils not conceding a goal in their last three Euro 2016 games (while scoring eight), the Dragons clearly have all the weapons needed to beat them.

Wales play a 5-3-2 formation, which offensively becomes a 3-5-2 one. This is the same lineup that caused Belgium so much trouble against Italy in their tournament opener, a game they lost 2-0. The Dragons are able to pack the middle, while defensively securing both wings, Belgium’s most dangerous offensive threats in their 4-2-3-1 formation.

If Wales are able to outrun the Belgians, which Italy did, while holding their ground defensively by not giving Belgium a chance to find space deep on the wings, they should be able to create deadly counter attacks through Bale and Ramsey. They won’t score twice against this Belgium team, but a 1-0 triumph is something Wales should dream about and aim for.

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