Gareth Bale will bear the weight of the Welsh expectations when they face Belgium for a place in the last four of Euro 2016 on Friday.
The Real Madrid star will be looked at once again to lead his side past a more fancied opponent. Bale has been in fine form as he looks to continue his fight for the tournament’s Golden Boot; to do so he will in all likelihood need to score against Belgium and ensure Wales progress to the next phase.
Belgium’s Red Devils hold a slender historical edge over the Welsh, having won five and drawing three of the last 12 meetings between the two sides.
The teams that will do battle in Lille will know exaclty what to expect after being drawn together in qualifying for Euro 2016. A 0-0 draw in Brussels before Gareth Bale got the only goal in Cardiff.
Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen has been ruled out of the tournament after tearing two ankle ligaments which will keep him out for around six to eight weeks
‘We are now in the quarter-finals – the Hungary game is in the past and we need to focus on this game against Wales. I think we have to keep doing what we’ve done well so far. Nobody knows what sort of team will be put out, so I really need everyone to stay on their toes,’ said Belgium coach Marc Wilmots.
‘A manager is always scared of his team having an off-day. It can happen. Hungary went well, but now we must remain focused and not take it for granted that we will win easily. It will be a tough match, it’s a different opposition this time. They are a team with pace, who play good football and a lot of them play in England.’
The match kicks off at 21:00.
Form guide (all competitions, most recent first):
Hennessey; Gunter, Chester, Williams, Davies, Taylor; Allen, Ledley; Ramsey, Bale; Robson-Kanu.
Misses next match if booked: Davies, Ramsey, Taylor, Vokes
Courtois; Meunier, Alderweireld, Ciman/Denayer, J Lukaku; Witsel, Nainggolan; Mertens/Carrasco, De Bruyne, Hazard; R Lukaku.
Out: Vermaelen (suspended), Vertonghen (ankle ligaments)
Doubtful: Hazard (quadriceps)
Misses next match if booked: Meunier, Witsel, Fellaini, Batshuayi