In their first meeting with Belgium since their 3-1 win in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals, Wales quickly took the lead as Harry Wilson, played by Gareth Bale, completed a smooth move (10 ).
However, Belgium fought back as goals from Kevin De Bruyne (22) and Thorgan Hazard (28) turned the game around and sent Roberto Martinez’s side at half-time with the lead.
Romelu Lukaku ensured the hosts’ victory in the second half, converting from place (73) after Chris Mepham beat Dries Mertens as Wales suffered their first competitive loss in 12 appearances.
The victory sees Belgium, who record their 13th straight win in the home competition, second in Group E behind the Czech Republic, who face Wales at Cardiff City Stadium as their World Cup qualifying campaign draws to a close. will continue next Tuesday, live on Sky Sports (kick off 7.45 pm).
2010 – Belgium have not lost a home game in qualifying for the European Championships or the World Cup since September 2010 against Germany – they are undefeated in 25 since, winning 19 and drawing six and by scoring 90 goals. Powerful.
– OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) 24 mars 2021
Belgium: Courtois (6), Alderweireld (7), Vermaelen (6), Vertonghen (7), Meunier (7), De Bruyne (8), Dendoncker (6), Tielemans (7), Mertens (7), Lukaku (7) , Danger (7).
Submarines: Denayer (7), Chestnuts (n / a). Trossard (n / a).
Wales: Ward (6), Mepham (5), J Lawrence (6), Rodon (7), C Roberts (6), Wilson (7), Allen (n / a), Ampadu (6), N Williams (6), James (6), Bale (6).
Submarines: Morrell (6), Roberts (6), Moore (n / a).
Man of the match: Kevin De Bruyne.
Group E classification…
How Belgium outperformed Wales …
Wales suffered a heavy blow as Joe Allen’s international comeback lasted just seven minutes. The Stoke midfielder appeared to suffer from a hamstring injury and was replaced by Joe Morrell.
However, that did not topple Wales as they were in the lead three minutes later following a scintillating team move. Quick one-touch passes opened up the Belgian defense and Bale freed Wilson, who finished superbly, passing the ball past Thibaut Courtois for his fifth international goal.
Wilson’s Wonderful First Game
Wilson’s opener ended a 17-pass streak for Wales – he has now scored in back-to-back appearances for his country for the first time, while Bale, who provided the assist for Wilson’s goal , has now assisted in each of his last three games for Wales. .
The goal stunned Belgium in life, and they should have equalized when Lukaku skied over De Bruyne’s brilliant cross just above the Welsh crossbar.
However, they didn’t have to wait much longer to equalize, and it was this man De Bruyne, who got the chance to shoot from 25 yards. The Manchester City midfielder produced a powerful strike, beating Danny Ward and selecting the bottom corner from inside the post.
Belgium continued to put pressure on Wales, and they said taking the lead six minutes later. De Bruyne freed Thomas Meunier, who crossed from the right and Hazard took full advantage of Connor Roberts ‘unfortunate slip to take the hosts’ lead.
The visitors were more attentive after the interval as Bale nearly made his way through a packed home defense before the daring daring kick from the Wales captain fell.
- Belgium made two changes from their November victory over Denmark when Thomas Vermaelen and Thomas Meunier replaced Jason Denayer and Nacer Chadli, while Romelu Lukaku started after returning a negative test result following a coronavirus epidemic in his club Inter Milan.
- Wales have once again hosted Joe Allen for their first 2022 World Cup qualifying game. Allen, who ruptured an Achilles tendon 12 months ago and had not played for Wales Wales since November 2019, replaced Joe Morrell in the Nations League victory in November against Finland, while the only other change saw Neco Williams replace Rhys Norrington-Davies.
Daniel James was also off target twice as Belgium remained almost half an eye on Saturday’s trip to the Czech Republic.
But the result was put beyond doubt as Lukaku’s kick left Wales catching up to World Cup qualifying.
“Positive points for Wales; The match in the Czech Republic is now crucial ”
Former Wales defender Ashley Williams on Sky Sports:
“It wasn’t bad from Wales. As I said before the game, the most important thing is to gain momentum. It was the toughest game of the campaign to start.
“It was a tough game for the boys. There were a few good roles in it but maybe they were a little naive at times, which you are going to get. We don’t have a lot of selections within the group but they are. is fine.
“We started well with an incredible goal, but two quality elements allowed Belgium to come back.
“There are bright spots for Wales, but they’ll be disappointed they didn’t get something in the game.
“It was a difficult task, but the loss now puts a lot of emphasis on the game against the Czech Republic. You want to stay undefeated at home for as long as possible in the campaign, if not throughout the campaign.
“So this game quickly turns into a must win because you want to gain that momentum as soon as possible. ”
What the players said …
Captain of Wales Gareth Bale at Sky Sports: “It was great to score a goal early, it was going well, but a few botched mistakes let them come back. We knew they were a great team and obviously when you make mistakes you get punished.
“In the second half we were in the game for big games… obviously we were disappointed to lose, but we knew it would be difficult to come here and we had to take the good things out of the game and bring them to the next game.
“We knew at half-time that the next goal would be crucial, if they got it it would make things very difficult. We showed good spirit, but it wasn’t meant to be, so we’re taking the positives from the game.
“We can’t use the pitch as an excuse, it was the same for both teams. We were playing the number one team in the world, so we can’t be too depressed. ”
Wales defender Connor Roberts mentionned: “It’s really disappointing, in the second half we had patches where we were at the top, we had chances to get crosses, we didn’t create a lot but we looked more than enough good to create. the team down and it is difficult to come back against a team like Belgium.
“Tonight was a brilliant back and forth movement and a good finish from Harry. Unfortunately, we were unable to hold out. It was a good goal and a positive point to look back on. ”
Man of the Match – Kevin De Bruyne
De Bruyne became the first player to score a competitive away goal against Wales since Juraj Kucka for Slovakia in October 2019 in a Euro 2020 qualifier, ending their streak of 418 minutes without conceding on the road in competitive matches.
The Man City star has been directly involved in 14 goals in his last eight appearances for Belgium (5 goals, 9 assists), scoring two straight games for his country for the first time since May 2016 (a streak of four) . .
Opta Stats – Belgium’s impressive race continues
- Belgium notched their first victory against Wales since September 2012 in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup (2-0), having won none of their previous four meetings with the Dragons before today (D2 L2 ).
- Belgium have not lost a home game in qualifying for the European Championships or the World Cup since September 2010 against Germany – they are undefeated in 25 since, winning 19 and drawing six and scoring 90 goals.
- Thorgan Hazard both scored and assisted in a match for Belgium for the first time in his international career (32nd cap).
- In his fifth appearance against them, Belgian Romelu Lukaku scored against Wales for the very first time (13th shot).
Next up for Wales is a home friendly match with Mexico on Saturday (kick off at 8 p.m.), live on Sky Sports Premier League from 7:55 p.m. ahead of another World Cup qualifier at home against the Czech Republic on Tuesday March 30, also live on Sky Sports (kick off at 7.45 p.m.).
Live World Cup Qualifier
Saturday March 27 7:40 p.m.
Meanwhile, Belgium are back in the World Cup qualifying game on Saturday during their trip to the Czech Republic, live on Sky Sports Football (kick off at 7.45 p.m.). They will then face Belarus at home, also qualified, and again live on the red button of Sky Sports Football (kick-off at 7.45 p.m.).