EURO 2016: Wales - Belgium
The second quarter final match will also feature an entertaining fixture as Wales will lock horns with Belgium. The Welsh Dragons have been one of the biggest surprises of the tournament so far and their recent results earned them other teamsÃ‚Â´ respect. Belgium, on the other hand, were in a different situation. They travelled to France with what probably is their best team ever, making them one of the tournamentÃ‚Â´s favourites. But the opener against Italy turned out to be a dismal start for them as they were beaten 0:2 by their rivals. Nevertheless, Belgium have grown a great deal at the championship and they now boast a brilliant form, looking to claim their spot in the semi final. Starting at 9 PM (CET), the Friday clash Wales versus Belgium will be played at the Pierre-Mauroy Stadium in Lille.
One of the tournamentÃ‚Â´s debutants, Wales were surprising toppers of the Group B ahead of England, Slovakia and Russia. Just the advancement to the round of 16 was a huge achievement for the Dragons but their incredible story did not stop just there. Wales did not look too convincing in their first knock-out encounter against Northern Ireland but they did manage to win this game after McAuley scored an own goal in the 75th minute, booking their spot in the quarter final. Unfortunately, the not-so-impressive performance of his men was not the only headache for Coleman in this match. The teamÃ‚Â´s captain and the key defender Ashley Williams injured himself after colliding with one if his teammates. The teamÃ‚Â´s doctors are now sweating on WilliamsÃ‚Â´ fitness but he is not very likely to be ready for the Friday game. Considering the enormous quality of BelgiumÃ‚Â´s offensive line, WilliamsÃ‚Â´ absence might have a huge impact on the result of the clash.
Finally, Belgium are showing us why FIFA currently ranks them as the second best team in the world. The Belgians seem to learn their lesson from the failure they suffered in their opener against Italy and now, they are performing just like their fans hoped they would. They bounced back with an excellent 3:0 win over Ireland which was followed by a 1:0 victory over Sweden. Hungary were not expected to give Belgium a hard time but few could have foreseen the thumping 4:0 win WilmotsÃ‚Â´ side eventually claimed in the bout. Boasting a 3-game winning streak, the team scored as many as 8 goals in their last 3 matches while conceding none. Looking good in all departments, the Belgians produce attractive football based on a disciplined and collective performance. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Belgium are clear favourites of the upcoming duel but they are sure not to take their Welsh rivals lightly as they failed to beat them in any of the two qualifiers they played against each other prior to the tournament.
The Belgians have lifted their stakes after they hammered Hungary in the round of 16 and they are now determined to prove their great form in their Friday clash against Wales. However, the Welsh impressed in the group stage and they will surely put up a strong fight against the Belgian favourites. Wales will be heavily relying on their iconic striker Bale who has been in a superb form at the tournament but they will probably miss their defensive mainstay Williams, which might be a huge blow to their chances. Will Wales beat the odds and claim a win in this fixture? Or will Belgium extend their winning series and qualify for the next stage? We will know by Friday night.
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