Euro 2016 quarter-finals: Belgium’s brilliant attack a Hazard to Wales’ tournament hopes
Lee Gormley | June 29, 2016
Wales v Belgium
- Euro 2016 quarter-final
- Friday, July 1st
- Kick-off: 20:00 BST
- Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Villeneuve-d’Ascq
- Live on BBC One
Belgium could hurt Wales hopes
Wales will look to continue their Euro 2016 ventures in France when taking on a rejuvenated Belgium side in their quarter-final clash, but Chris Coleman’s men will be confident of upsetting the odds having not lost this fixture in three meetings.
The two nations collided in qualifying for the tournament, with the Welsh Dragons securing four points from their encounters, downing Belgium 1-0 in Cardiff and holding them to a scoreless draw in Brussels, boosting their chances of repeat heroics this time out.
Although, after recovering from an opening day blip against Italy, Marc Wilmots’ Red Devils have been impressive and enter this match-up at 18/5 with Coral to triumph in normal time with both countries getting on the scoresheet.
A third draw in four meetings is 13/5 to occur at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, while Wales are 9/2 to maintain their incredible run by causing an upset and emerging victorious in 90 minutes, following their last 16 win over fellow Home Nation Northern Ireland.
Hazard revival a Belgian boost
Belgium recovered from their Italian defeat to record three successive wins without conceding over all of the Republic of Ireland, Sweden and Hungary to reach this stage, and they are 6/4 to make it four in a row on Friday night.
Chelsea attacker and national skipper Eden Hazard has looked a different player to that which his Stamford Bridge fans witnessed this past season in the Premier League, taking on his role as captain with ease and recently firing in during the 4-0 Hungary triumph.
The Blues playmaker is therefore 7/4 to find the target again within normal time after starring so far, while Everton frontman Romelu Lukaku is 5/1 to open proceedings in his latest outing after doing so when dispatching a double past Ireland in the group stage.
Hazard could soon be joined by Belgium teammate Michy Batshuayi in London, with Chelsea seemingly leading the chase for his signature despite Crystal Palace’s recent bid, and the Marseille marksman is 7/4 to score anytime here.
Manchester City attacking midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is also a key threat to Wales and is 6/1 to net the game’s final goal, while Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini and Roma’s Radja Nainggolan are 5/1 and 6/1 to strike respectively.
Can Bale step up once again?
Wales’ star man Gareth Bale has lived up to his country’s high expectations this summer, having struck three times at the finals already against all their group opponents England, Russia and Northern Ireland. He will also be boosted by the fact Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen has been ruled out for up to eight weeks and will miss this clash.
The Real Madrid ace has been in sensational form and will enter proceedings at 6/4 to tuck home again anytime in 90 minutes, or he is 11/2 to open the scoring for his nation in this quarter-final meeting. Bale knows all about netting in this fixture, having bagged the winner in that 1-0 qualifying victory last year.
Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey has also been a top performer for Coleman’s side and he is 10/3 to add to his tally anytime, with forward Hal Robson-Kanu 10/1 to net the last goal. Set-pieces may be crucial for Wales in this meeting and skipper Ashley Williams is 20/1 to get on the scoresheet anytime, with James Chester the same price.
Extra-time has already been witnessed in the knockout stages in France and Wales are 18/1 to overcome the Red Devils after 90 minutes has been played, while both nations are 9/1 to progress via a penalty shoot-out in what could be a cracking clash in Villeneuve-d’Ascq.
Coral’s top tip: Back Eden Hazard to strike past Wales anytime within 90 minutes at 7/4.