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WC Qualification Europe

  • October 15, 2013
  • • 20:00
  • • Stade Roi Baudouin, Bruxelles (Brussel)
  • Referee: S. Karasev
  • • Attendance: 45401

Belgium-Wales Preview: Lukaku looking to build on Croatia double

Belgium-Wales Preview: Lukaku looking to build on Croatia double


The on-loan Everton forward netted two strikes on Friday as Marc Wilmots's side secured qualification for next summer's World Cup with an impressive 2-1 victory

Belgium will be aiming to end their World Cup qualifying campaign in style when they face Wales in Brussels on Tuesday.

A 2-1 victory away to Croatia on Friday ensured that Marc Wilmots's side will travel to Brazil to play in their first World Cup finals since 2002.

On-loan Everton striker Romelu Lukaku scored both goals in the victory after being handed a starting berth in the absence of the injured Christian Benteke.

Belgium have dropped just two points in Group A and are assured of top spot as they hold an eight-point lead over Igor Stimac's Croatia - who must settle for a place in the play-offs.

Wilmots's side secured qualification for Brazil despite being without captain Vincent Kompany and Benteke, proving that they have strength in depth, and, with the likes of Eden Hazard, Axel Witsel, Jan Vertonghen and Marouane Fellaini at their disposal, they will be fancied to make an impact on the biggest stage of all.

The Stade Roi Baudouin will be bouncing on Tuesday, although Chris Coleman's Wales will be looking to put a dampener on the celebrations.

Wales have no chance of qualifying for the finals but, despite being depleted on Friday, they did pull together for a morale-boosting 1-0 victory over Macedonia in Cardiff.

Simon Church scored the only goal of the game to enhance Coleman's chances of keeping his job.

The former Fulham manager feared that he would be "out the door" if Wales had lost, regardless of the fact that they were without injured talisman Gareth Bale and captain Ashley Williams, among 13 others.

Tuesday's clash in Brussels will be Craig Bellamy's final appearance for his country after an international career spanning 15 years.

The 34-year-old's 78th cap for Wales will be his last and he will likely be given a prominent role by Coleman.

The Wales boss has been hit by a raft of pull-outs, with no fewer than 15 withdrawals from his squad prior to the Macedonia game.

That has meant a string of teenagers being added to the party, including Cardiff City's 18 year-old left-back, Declan John, who made his debut on Friday and could feature again.

Belgium, meanwhile, would seem unlikely to risk Benteke as he continues to shake off a hip injury picked up during Aston Villa's Premier League match agianst Norwich in mid-September.

The Villa man was named in Wilmots's initial party for the double-header but seems set to be given additional recovery time, with nothing riding on the match.

Wilmots also has a decision to make over Manchester United midfielder Fellaini, who played against Croatia despite a wrist problem.

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