Their opponent, Belgium, has also lost just once, dropping their first Euro Cup group play match to Italy by a score of 2-0. Since then, the Belgians have looked more and more impressive, crushing Hungary 4-0 in their round of 16 match.
Will this be the fate of Wales as well? Or can they pull off the upset?
Find out as we cover Friday’s matchup between these teams, and discuss who you should bet on.
Belgium vs Wales (3:00pm EST at July 1)
Belgium -0.5 (-125)
Wales -0.5 (+100)
Belgium vs Wales Overview
Ranked behind both England and Northern Ireland in the FIFA rankings, few expected Wales to be the last-remaining British nation left in the Euro Cup. But here they are, riding the high of two straight victories and looking to advance to the final four.
Confidence won’t be an issue for Wales because they beat Belgium last year in qualifiers. And Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen have formed an impressive three-star rotation that’s putting the ball in the net. Wales looks as good as ever, meaning they have a chance to pull off this win.
But Belgium is also living up to lofty expectations, thanks in large part to defensive efforts by Thomas Vermaelen. Unfortunately, he won’t be available against Wales due to a suspension. The Belgians will rely on midfielders Axel Witsel and Radja Nainggolan to help maintain possession and keep Wales out of their backfield.
Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne have also played well in this tourney, but they need more out of Romelu Lukaku and Dries Mertens, both of whom have been inconsistent lately.
After scoring two goals against Ireland, Lukaku hasn’t done much. But he’s a big forward who proves a tough matchup for Wales’ backline. Ashley Williams will be part of the backline trying to stop Lukaku and prevent him from doing damage.
Another important matchup will take place between Nainggolan and the Welsh midfielder Allen. The latter is key to Wales’ total effort, making solid passes and key tackles. But if Nainggolan can slow him down and disrupt Wales’ attack, then Belgium has a great chance of keeping the Welsh out of the net.
Breakout Performers: Joe Ledley and Kevin De Bruyne
Lost in the Welsh victory over Northern Ireland is that Ledley didn’t have a fantastic match. But he has a good chance to step up against the offensive-geared Belgian side and make some plays. We see him making big tackles and ruining some of the things that Belgium wants to do.
It’s been three matches since the Belgians last scored a goal on Wales. Don’t expect them to play reserved on Friday, as they’ll be looking to end this scoreless streak. This flow will favor Kevin De Bruyne, who’ll likely be playing a freer role. The Manchester City man could either score himself or create a goal for somebody else if the gameplan goes his way.
Prediction on Belgium vs Wales
Wales knows that they can play with Belgium, having done so last year. They also have three excellent players in Bale, Ramsey and Allen, who can provide the firepower needed to take down Belgium. But the Belgian side hasn’t even shown what they’re capable of yet in the tournament. While we expect Wales to provide resistance, Belgium might have a date with destiny in the finals.
Final Score Prediction: Belgium wins 2-1
Betting Advice: This is a tough one. We like Belgium on the spread, but Wales is offering good value on the moneyline.