thumbnail Hello,

WC Qualification Europe

  • 7 September 2012
  • • 19:45
  • • Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff (Caerdydd)
  • Referee: S. Johannesson
  • • Attendance: 16557

Wales - Belgium Preview: Inury hit Welsh begin their World Cup campaign against Belgian 'golden generation'

Wales - Belgium Preview: Inury hit Welsh begin their World Cup campaign against Belgian 'golden generation'

Getty Images

Chris Coleman's depleted squad take on Marc Wilmot's star studded side at the Cardiff City Stadium in their opening Group A qualification game for the 2014 World Cup



Gunter, Collins, Williams, Ricketts
Edwards, Allen, Ramsey, Bale
 Morison, Vokes


Vermaelen, Vertonghen, Kompany,

Fellaini, Witsel, Simons
Hazard, Mirallas, Dembele

Wales boss Chris Coleman has several key players unavailable for their first qualifying games for the World Cup 2014.

Talisman Craig Bellamy will miss the both games in the international break (calf) with Robert Earnshaw called up to the squad as cover.

Brighton midfielder Andrew Crofts (ankle) also misses out with Ashley Richards making up the numbers in the Welsh midfield. Swansea defender Ben Davies is the latest call-up to the squad, in place of team-mate Neil Taylor (ankle) and Huddersfield's Joel Lynch.

Other noticable absentees from the squad include Wolves keeper Wayne Hennessey (knee), West Ham's Jack Collison (knee), Celtic's Joe Ledley (groin) and Sunderland's David Vaughan (ankle).

Belgium manager Marc Wilmots has more or less a full strength squad to select from.

Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen is expected to shift into the left-back position with Wilmot's preffered central partnership of Tottenham's Jan Vertonghen and Manchester City and Belgium captain Vincent Kompany.

Romelu Lukaku has recently been overtaken by Everton's Kevin Mirallas as Wilmot's preffered front man but the West Brom man on loan from Chelsea has impressed early on in the season for the Baggies.

Dries Mertens and Mousa Dembele are the two in contention to support the lone frontman alongside Chelsea's Eden Hazard.

  • Wales have not reached the finals of a World Cup or European Championship for 54 years.
  • Chris Coleman's men have failed to score a goal in their last three matches, with Bosnia, Mexico and Costa Rica keeping his side out.

  • Robert Earnshaw is the highest international goalscorer in the squad in Bellamy's absense, the Cardiff man has 16 goals in 58 appearances.

  • Wales are currently ranked at 37th in the world, 16 places higher than their opponents.

  • Wales have only made the World Cup finals on one occasion way back in 1958.

  • Belgium have a losing record to Wales, with 3 wins, 4 losses and a single draw between the sides down the years.

  • The Belgians qualified for six successive World Cup’s from 1982 to 2002 but have missed the last two tournaments.

  • Ten players from the Premier League are included in Wilmot's squad.

  • There haven't been many international goals in this Belgian side as of yet, with Kevin Mirallas and Mousa Dembele (pictured) joint at five in the top scorers list.

Players to watch

G. Bale

Position: Attacker

Games: 7

  • 4
  • 2
  • 0
The flying winger has had a muted start to the Premier League season under new Tottenham coach Andre Villas-Boas. The one weakness in Wilmot's backline could be inexperienced left-back Toby Alderweireld, if Bale can switch over to that side and isolate the Ajax man it could prove to be the chink in the Belgian armour that allows Wales a route to victory.

E. Hazard

Position: Midfielder

Games: 6

  • 4
  • 0
  • 0
The 21-year-old is already the key player for Marc Wilmot's Belgium. Much of the nation's hopes will be on his young shoulders. The Chelsea man hasn't yet proved himself on the international stage in a Belgian side that has flattered to decieve over the last decade, but all things seem to have fallen in place at both club and national level, for Eden Hazard to take the football world by storm.

Editor's Prediction

This Belgium 'golden generation' has to come together sooner or later and with an almost fully fit squad against a depleted Wales side, they go in as strong favourites. Expect the likes of Hazard and Dembele to cause the Welsh defence all sorts of problems. Bale, Ramsey and Allen will be key to Coleman's side but even they will find Wilmot's star-studded backline hard to break down.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head




Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Wales WAL
Wales Wales
Belgium BEL
Belgium Belgium

Top 3 Predictions

Wales WAL
1 - 3
Belgium BEL
Wales WAL
0 - 2
Belgium BEL
Wales WAL
1 - 2
Belgium BEL