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Dublin: 9°C Sunday 27 September 2020


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GOOD EVENING! Portugal became the first team to book their place in the semi-finals of Euro 2016 last night, and Wales and Belgium face off this evening with the winner meeting Cristiano Ronaldo and Co on Wednesday.

Lille’s Stade Pierre-Mauroy hosts the last-8 tie between two sides who know each other better than most as both qualified for the tournament from Group B — Belgium topped the group with Wales two points back.

Chris Coleman’s men took four points from two meetings with the Red Devils as they drew 0-0 in Brussels before Gareth Bale bagged the winner in Cardiff. So while Belgium go into the game as favourites to progress, Wales won’t fear tonight’s opponents.

Kick-off is 45 minutes away.

Team news: Wales have made just one chance to the team that beat Northern Ireland in the last-16 as Hal Robson-Kanu comes in for Sam Vokes up front.

Meanwhile, Belgium have been hit with a bit of a defensive crisis. Tottenham’s Jan Verthongen is out with an ankle injury and Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen is suspended meaning 21-year-olds Jason Denayer and Jordan Lukaku (brother of Romelu) are named in the starting XI.

The one other switch sees Yannick Carrasco of Atletico Madrid replace Napoli attacker Dries Mertens.

Wales: Wayne Hennessey; James Chester, Ashley Williams (c), Ben Davies; Chris Gunter, Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen, Joe Ledley, Neil Taylor; Gareth Bale; Hal Robson-Kanu.


Belgium: Thibaut Courtois; Thomas Meunier, Toby Alderweireld, Jason Denayer, Jordan Lukaku; Radja Nainggolan, Axel Witsel; Yannick Carrasco, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard (c); Romelu Lukaku.

Who are you backing to go through from this one then? 

Poll Results:

Wales (350)
Belgium (151)
Can't decide (25)

Tonight’s venue is, of course, the same one that witnessed Robbie Brady snatch a deserved late winner for Ireland against Italy on that incredible evening earlier this month.

Unlike that night, however, the roof will remain open despite the rain they’ve been having.

A view of Stade Pierre-Mauroy Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Wales then belt out a stirring rendition of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau. And we’re ready to go.

Flag 1Mins

KICK-OFF: We’re underway in the pouring rain. Wales in their traditional red and white, Belgium wearing a change light blue and black strip.

Beligum Wales kick off Source: TV3 player


Belgium immediately on the attack with captain Eden Hazard getting an early touch. He goes by Chris Gunter with ease before sending a cross slightly deep to the back post. The Chelsea man looks in the mood.


YELLOW CARD – Wales and Tottenham defender Ben Davies has gone into the referee’s book at this early stage for a late challenge on Kevin De Bruyne. He will have to be careful for the remaining 85 minutes.


GOAL-LINE SCRAMBLE! How have Belgium not scored there? Lukaku gets free down the left and crosses to Carrasco, who takes a touch and shoots at Wayne Hennessy.

Thomas Meunier’s follow-up is blocked by Neil Taylor as Wales get bodies back on the line, then a Hazard attempt is deflected over.


From the resulting corner, Lukaku can’t make decent contact to diver the ball home. Then, down the other end, Bale gets a sight at goal and fires the ball into the side-netting.

Frantic start!

Flag 13Mins

GOAL! Wales 0-1 Belgium (Radja Nainggolan) 

WOW! Just… wow! The ball is rolled out to Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan and he lets fly with an unstoppable strike into the top corner from distance.

Nainggolan Source: Twitter/BBCMOTD


ANOTHER BOOKING – Wales full-back Chris Gunter pulls De Bruyne back and is the latest player to earn himself a caution.


GREAT CHANCE! And it’s gone to Wales. Ramsey gets to the end-line and pulls the ball back for Taylor. He hits it well but it’s straight at Courtois, who gets behind the strike to make a crucial save.


More joy for Wales down the right. Robson Kanu skips by Jordan Lukaku and wins a corner. The younger Lukaku has looked vulnerable.

Flag 30Mins

GOAL! Wales 1-1 Belgium (Ashley Williams) 

Wales are level! Captain Ashley Williams finds himself unmarked for a corner and powers a header past Courtois. Great response, and look at the celebration…

Wales v Belgium - UEFA Euro 2016 - Quarter Final - Stade Pierre Mauroy The Wales players celebrate their goal with Chris Coleman. Source: Joe Giddens


SAVE! Bale has a run at the Belgian defence and targets weak links Denayer and Lukaku. He finds some space to have a strike with his right foot, but Courtois gets down to keep it out.

We have ourselves a game here!

Flag 47Mins

Half-time: Wales 1-1 Belgium 

Ramsey dinks a ball into the path of Robson-Kanu and the forward heads at goal but it’s saved. That’s the last action of a thoroughly-enjoyable 45 minutes.


SECOND HALF – We’re back from the break. Belgium are making a change with Marouane Fellaini on for Carrasco.


JUST WIDE – That wasn’t far away. Meunier curls the ball towards Romelu Lukaku and the Everton striker nods off-target from a really promising position.

Moments later, De Bruyne shoots over.


Belgium are going up through the gears now. Next to have a pop is Hazard, and his shot whistles past Hennessy’s post.

Williams then has to be alert to take the ball off the head of Lukaku and concede a corner.

Flag 55Mins

GOAL! Wales 2-1 Belgium (Hal Robson-Kanu) 

The Welsh are in front! Against the run of play, Ramsey is found out wide right. He centres to Robson-Kanu, who takes a touch and Cruyff-turns exquisitely to make a yard for himself and side-foot home. Super goal.


BOOKING – Substitute Fellaini crashes into Bale and picks up a yellow card.


OVER – Allen’s shot is blocked down and Williams lashes over with the follow-up. Belgium need to throw everything at this as they’re heading out as it stands.


LAST-DITCH – Fine tracking back and a sliding interception from James Chester as De Bruyne attempts to pick out Lukaku in a goalscoring position.


BIG MISS – Oh dear. Alderweireld gets forward from centre-half to cross for Fellaini. The Manchester United midfielder has the height advantage on Chester but he can’t direct his header on target.


BAD NEWS FOR RAMSEY –  If Wales are to progress to the semi-finals, they will be without one of their most-influential players as Ramsey has been booked for a handball.


SUBSTITUTIONS – Dries Mertens of Napoli replaces Jordan Lukaku to add more of an attacking threat for Belgium, Meanwhile, Joe Ledley is making way for Leicester City’s Andy King as Wales look to hold onto their slender lead.


Former Ireland midfielder and TV3 commentator Keith Andrews on Robson-Kanu’s turn…

Speaking of which, the goalscorer has just been withdrawn for Same Vokes. Ten minutes to play.


Nainggolan goes down in the box looking for a penalty but it looks a dive.

Flag 85Mins

GOAL! Wales 3-1 Belgium (Sam Vokes) 

OH MY WORD! They’re actually going to do it. Wales are on the verge of a place in the semi-finals. Substitute Vokes meets Gunter’s cross to put them 3-1 up. Scenes!


Just three minutes of added time to be played…

Flag 94Mins


Full-time: Wales 3-1 Belgium 


What a result! This Welsh side have been a breath of fresh air since the qualification campaign started nearly two years ago. Unlike Ireland, they didn’t show the Belgians too much respect and now they have two wins and a draw from three meeting with the ‘Golden Generation’.

On Wednesday, it’s Wales v Portugal in Lyon with a place in the Euro 2016 final up for grabs. It will undoubtedly be billed as Bale v Ronaldo, but this Welsh team has more to it than that. They will miss Ramsey, however, as he’s suspended due to the yellow card earned tonight.

About the author:

Ben Blake