Prediction: Belgium vs Wales

Prediction: Belgium vs Wales

Verdict: Belgium win by 2+ goals

Best Odds: 19/20

Bookmaker: Unibet

Looking to get their World Cup qualifying campaign off to a flying start in midweek, European heavyweights Belgium will welcome Wales to Heverlee on Wednesday night.

Belgium

Starting with the hosts, while Belgium might have been hit with that 2-1 defeat against England in the UEFA Nations League back in October, The Red Devils managed to bounce back in impressive fashion. With many feeling that this is their golden generation’s last chance to lift the World Cup in 2022, Roberto Martínez’s side were last seen picking up a 4-2 win against Denmark on home soil four months ago. Signing off their Nations League campaign with a flurry and booking a semi-final showdown against defending world champions France for later in the year, Belgium have won each of their last four matchups across all formats. While the one-time Wigan boss might have been calling on his side to find some stability at the back after landing just a single clean sheet in their previous seven contests, they do have one attacking star enjoying a real purple patch on domestic duties. Finding the net in a 2-1 win against Torino last time out, Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku has 30 goals so far this season.

Team News

While Belgium might have been nervous that he would not be able to join up with the squad, Romelu Lukaku has been given the green light and will feature this week.

However, in the midst of an injury nightmare with Real Madrid, winger Eden Hazard has suffered another issue and will not feature in this round of fixtures. Likewise, the former Chelsea star will join Axel Witsel on the sidelines.

Wales

As for the visitors, while Wales might have found themselves enjoying a boost when heading into 2021, they will once again be without their boss in midweek. With Ryan Giggs still on leave from his duties, caretaker boss Robert Page looks set to once again be in the dugout on Wednesday night. Nevertheless, turning their attention to qualifying duties if they’re to book their spot at the World Cup finals in 2022, The Reds should be fancying their chances. Placed in Group E, a group shared with the likes of Estonia, Belarus and the Czech Republic, Wales will be hoping to at least lay down some kind of marker out in Belgium this week. Bouncing back from their 3-0 defeat against British rivals England at Wembley last year, The Dragons did manage to enjoy an eye-catching run in the Nations League. Last seen picking up a 3-1 win against Finland, Wednesday’s guests secured their spot in Group A for the first time after seeing off Finland with a four-point buffer.

Team News

While Aaron Ramsey might have initially been called up to Wales’ squad earlier in the month, the Juventus midfielder will miss out due to an injury issue in midweek.

The Tottenham trio of Gareth Bale, Joe Rodon and Ben Davies have all been called up to Wales’ squad. Veteran midfielder Joe Allan has also been called up for the first time since 2019.

Key Factors to Consider

  • When the two sides last faced off back in 2016, Wales picked up a shock 3-1 victory.
  • Belgium have won each of their last four straight matchups since that 2-1 defeat against England last year.
  • Wales are unbeaten in their last five matchups across all formats, conceding just a single goal on that run.
  • Belgium and Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku has scored 30 goals so far this season.
  • Wednesday’s hosts are unbeaten on home soil since a 2-0 friendly defeat against Spain in September 2016.

Conclusion

While Wales might have picked up that shock 3-1 win when they last faced off against Wednesday’s hosts back in 2016, The Dragons should face a stern test on foreign soil. Despite signing off their Nations League campaign with a flurry, Roberto Martínez’s side rightfully open their qualifying campaign as a landslide pick. Bouncing back from that defeat against England last year and winning each of their last four matchups on the spin, the former Wigan boss also has some serious firepower at his disposal. Looking to romp their way to the 2022 World Cup finals, it is hard to see anything other than a tricky night for a managerless Wales in Heverlee.

Verdict: Belgium win by 2+ goals

Best Odds: 19/20

Bookmaker: Unibet

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