Kevin De Bruyne’s outstanding first-half performance was enough for Belgium to beat Wales 2-1 in the Nations League and left Rob Page’s side need to beat Poland on Sunday to avoid relegation from Group A4.
Wales failed to recover after De Bruyne gave Belgium the lead (10) with a superb left-footed finish on the edge of the penalty area and had no answer for the Man City playmaker as he continued to wreak havoc before the break, as the former Chelsea founding. Striker Michy Batshuayi (37) made a low cross to make the score 2-0.
Kiefer Moore’s early second-half goal (50) gave Wales hope of a comeback, but even captain Gareth Bale’s introduction off the bench could secure an equalizer for the depleted Wales still without a win in the Nations League.
Wales teeters on the brink of relegation from the top flight of the tournament ahead of Sunday’s final Group A4 game against Poland in Cardiff on Sunday. Meanwhile, Belgium are still three points behind the standings, the Netherlands, which they must beat by two points on Sunday to qualify for the Nations League finals.
Belgium: Courtois (7), Debast (6), Alderweireld (6), Vertonghen (6), Meunier (6), Tielemans (7), Witsel (6), Carrasco (6), De Bruyne (8), Batshuayi (7) , Hazard (7).
Subs: Openda (6), Mertens (6), De Ketelaere (unknown), Trossard (6), Vanaken (unknown).
Wales:Hennessy (7), Roberts (7), Rodon (7), Mepham (7), Williams (6), Smith (6), Ampadu (6), Norrington Davis (6), James (5), Moore (7) ), Johnson (7).
Subs: Bell (6), Muriel (6), Roberts (unknown).
man of the match: Kevin DeBruyne.
How Wales failed in Brussels
Belgium had a slow opener for 10 minutes until a quality moment from De Bruyne broke the deadlock. His left-footed finish for the first time on the edge of the area – after a perfectly weighted Batshuayi pass – was too accurate for Wayne Hennessy to get away despite having a finger tip.
Wales collapsed after conceding the first goal, while Belgium never looked back, De Bruyne nearly doubled his tally as he hit the base of the post with another long-range shot shy of the half-hour as Roberto Martinez’s side played the guests in. Brussels.
Group A4: Remaining matches
- Belgium vs Wales – Brussels, Thursday, September 22
- Poland vs Netherlands Warsaw, Thursday 22 September
- Holland vs Belgium – Amsterdam, Sunday 25 September
- Wales vs Poland – Cardiff, Sunday 25 September
When Belgium eventually made it 2-0, De Bruyne again took part in returning the favor by creating Batshuayi with a perfect cross that the former Chelsea striker – to fill in for injured Romelu Lukaku – passed from close range. just before the break.
Wales showed resilience in the second half as Moore met Nottingham Forest striker Brennan Johnson’s cross with a powerful header that completely overpowered 18-year-old Belgian central defender Zeno Debast on his international debut.
- Wells was without Aaron Ramsey, Ben Davis and Harry Wilson.
- Gareth Bale didn’t take any risks from the start.
- Romelu Lukaku was absent due to an injury to Belgium.
Wales captain Bale made an impact off the bench as Page’s side continued to press for an equaliser. They panicked when the referee fired a penalty after Joe Morell’s fair challenge on De Bruyne, but were saved by VAR intervention.
There was a late chance for Forest Johnson when Conor Roberts hit the ball in his direction in the penalty area, but the 21-year-old was unable to direct his effort towards goal as Belgium were given a rest just five minutes ago. from the game.
Earnshaw: De Bruyne ran the show, but it was a positive for Wales
Fomer Wales striker Robert Earnshaw speaking on Sky Sports News:
“It was a great football match to watch. Belgium were unplayable in the first half, it was very good. Hazard put in a great performance, it was good to see him again, and De Bruyne ran the show.
“Gareth Bale was in for Wales in the second half and he made some difference.
“If I’m Rob Page, in the first half, I’m thinking ‘Guys, that’s not good enough, it’s not anywhere close.’ Just determination, pulling spaces, which makes it difficult for the other team. De Bruyne is great, but they made it. It’s hard for him. They didn’t, they let him time and all the space.
“But the second half was excellent. They changed the tactics a little bit, they positioned themselves and made it tighter, they looked for the counterattack, especially on the right side with Johnson, who was very good.
“So there were two things – good rebounds after the first half, but there are a lot of individual lessons as well. Maybe one or two happened. [players] He would have been disappointed but overall, the second half was much better.
“I think the majority of this team will go [to the World Cup]. There will likely be four or five teams ready. Whether he makes a few surprises with a 17- or 18-year-old off the bench tonight or misses one.
“Rob Page wants people he can count on. He will have an older Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey – who will be around for a few more years – and there is a transition to the need for the next batch of youngsters to enjoy this experience and be the next to take over Wales.
“There can be two or three young players who can now get up, like Johnson.”
Wales The next game is on Sunday where they host Poland In their last Nations League match in Group A4.
The match in Cardiff, which kicks off at 7.45pm, will be Wales’ last competitive game before they head to Qatar to play in their first World Cup finals in 64 years.
Robb Page’s team faces the United States in the opening group match of the World Cup on November 21 at Al Rayyan Stadium.