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Wales v Belgium Euro 2016 Preview: Bale and co aiming for another historic victory

Ross Aylward 29 Jun 2016
  • Wales and Belgium go head-to-head for a place in the semi-finals of Euro 2016
  • Gareth Bale will be looking to inspire Wales their first-ever appearance in the last four of a major tournament
  • With Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku in form, can Belgium's 'Golden Generation' finally come of age?
Axel Witsel chases Aaron Ramsey in the previous meeting between the sides

Wales are aiming to reach the semi-finals of a major tournament for the first time, but must overcome an in-form Belgium in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals at Lille's Stade Pierre Mauroy.

Making their first appearance in the competition, the Welsh have embraced the opportunity with both arms in France. 

Victories over Slovakia and Russia helped them top Group B ahead of England despite losing to the Three Lions, before edging past Northern Ireland in the Last 16 to match their achievements of 1958 when they reached the Quarter-Finals of the World Cup.

Just like in the qualifying stages, their success has been built around their fantastic team spirit – epitomising their motto ‘Together Stronger’ – and they will need to use that to maximum effect against the second best side in the world.

However, Chris Coleman’s men hold a slight psychological advantage going into the game, having beaten the Belgians 1-0 in qualifying, and will be out for another famous victory at Stade Pierre Mauroy.

Belgium will be desperate for revenge and it appears that the ‘Golden Generation’ are starting to come of age following an inspired performance against Hungary in the Last 16.

Marc Wilmots’ men have bounced back brilliantly from their opening defeat against Italy, beating Republic of Ireland and Sweden 3-0 and 1-0 respectively to finish second in Group E, before sticking four past the Magyars without reply on Sunday.

With the likes of Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne hitting form at exactly the right time, they will take some stopping in their quest for glory and are odds-on favourites to prevail.

Although Wales have proved the critics wrong by showing that they are not just a one-man team, the form of Gareth Bale has been instrumental in their progress so far.

The Real Madrid forward found the net in all three group games, while it was his cross that led to Gareth McAuley’s decisive own goal against Northern Ireland in the Last 16.

He scored the winner when the two sides met on that famous night in Cardiff and him netting first here is definitely worth a punt.

It is not just Bale who boasts world-class attacking quality in this showdown, however. With Hazard, De Bruyne, Lukaku, Mertens and Carrasco in tow, Belgium’s credentials are equally as envious.

Although the two sides have kept five clean sheets between them coming into this game, it is hard to see that trend continuing with both teams set to find the back of the net.



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Wales v Belgium Euro 2016 Preview: Bale and co aiming for another historic victory

Wales are aiming to reach the semi-finals of a major tournament for the first time, but must overcome an in-form Belgium in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals at Lille's Stade Pierre Mauroy.

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