In this first meeting between the two teams since that clash in Lille, it seemed for a brief moment as if Wales could be ready to trigger another surprise on the best international team in the world. Their early strike, finished by Harry Wilson, was a team goal of the highest level, underscoring the quality that exists in this Welsh attack. However, lightning was not to strike twice. Wilson’s goal was the best of the night as Belgium finally demonstrated their superiority in this World Cup qualifier. Kevin De Bruyne, Thorgan Hazard and Romelu Lukaku were in no mood to allow Wales to inflict further humiliation, each scoring as Roberto Martinez’s side clinched a deserved victory at Leuven.
The result, and the generally one-sided nature of the game, came as no surprise to interim manager Rob Page or absent Ryan Giggs, who watches from home. Wales know they are not at Belgium’s level and their injuries have made it even harder than usual to chain players like Lukaku and De Bruyne.
The brilliance of their lens, however, will be a source of hope for the future. They didn’t produce many attacks but the quality of this one, the first one, was such that the larger context seemed almost irrelevant. No matter what happened next, they had this moment to seize and be proud of as they prepared for the European Summer Championships.