Wales welcome Belgium to Cardiff City Stadium in a crucial Groupe E showdown of UEFA Qualifying for 2022 FIFA World Cup.
At least one point would see Wales advance to the Play-Offs as Group E runners-up and secure a seeding despite having already qualified along with Czech Republic, with whoever finishing third qualifying via the UEFA Nations League path.
Belgium are already qualified and wrapped up their position as Group E winners but will look to end this qualifying campaign unbeaten.
Gareth Bale won’t start for Wales as he continues to rebuild match fitness following a lengthy absence with a hamstring injury, although he is expected to be named on the substitutes bench.
Manager, Rob Page meanwhile has no other injury concerns to report.
Belgium have no fresh injury concerns to report after Saturday’s win against Estonia as Toby Alderweireld and Youri Tielemans withdrew prior to the match through injury.
Manager, Roberto Martinez though has opted to rotate his squad with Thibaut Courtois, Simon Mignolet, Jason Denayer, Dennis Praet and Eden Hazard all released to their domestic clubs.
- Wales have won just one of seven previous FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Belgium (W1, D1, L5).
- Belgium have won two of three away FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Wales (W2, L1).
- Four of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey’s six goals in total came from the penalty spot.
- Three of Belgium’s seven away goals in this Qualifying campaign were scored by Romelu Lukaku, who misses out through injury.
- Belgium are unbeaten in two matches refereed by Artur Soares Dias across all competitions (W1, D1).
Although both teams come into this match with qualification for Play-Offs and main tournament respectively assured, it will be interesting to see how Wales and Belgium approach this match.
Having delivered a ruthlessly dominant home win over Belarus on Saturday, Wales come into this match high on confidence but they will need to be at their disciplined best here if they’re to at least snatch a draw in order to secure a seeding position and home tie in the Play-Off semi-finals.
Belgium though seem to have rung the changes after securing qualification on Saturday with a dominant home win over Estonia, yet don’t seem to be treating this as a total friendly after retaining Christian Benteke, Kevin De Bruyne and Jan Vertonghen amongst several regulars.
This game therefore promises to be one of high intrigue given what is at stake for Wales but Belgium won’t be a rollover, so I am plumping for a score draw here because Welsh crowd will certainly make this a tough place for the visitors.
Prediction: Wales 1-1 Belgium
Result: Wales 1-1 Belgium