Start: 7:45 p.m.
Kevin De Bruyne: I’m bored playing Wale
Hazard, Tielemans and De Bruyne, starters for Belgium
Bale on the bench for Wales, hit by injury
Here are some nuggets for your numbers.
Belgium have never lost a home game against Wales in seven previous home games (four wins, three draws), winning 3-1 in the most recent game at Den Dreef in March 2021.
Belgium is the top scorer in the Nations League with 37 goals, scoring in all matches. The Belgians have also conceded 23 goals, with 60 goals in their matches, the most of any nation.
In their last 13 away games, Wales have either kept a clean sheet (six times) or conceded at least two (seven times), sending in 18 goals.
I hope your statuses are sufficiently sated by now.
What about Gareth?
Wales talisman Gareth Bale is among the substitutes tonight but is only expected to play a limited role.
Bale, who joined Los Angeles FC earlier this summer, has mostly appeared as a substitute in MLS thus far.
With a World Cup on the horizon, Page will be willing to do whatever he can to ensure his star arrives in Qatar fit and healthy.
It would be a surprise to see him in anything other than a cameo appearance tonight.
This is what the Wales manager says steal page Had to say before this.
“We have three or four key players with Joe in the middle of the park, Ben Davies and Aaron and Harry, so you have to get the balance right.
“I’m not going to risk anyone’s health or injury with a World Cup in November, but we also want to stay in the division.
“We’ve fought with one hand tied behind our back before in the first two games because of the [World Cup play-off] end and unfortunately we are in the position we are in.
“But we still have two games left to stay in the division, so we’ll take it. If we can qualify for a World Cup and still be in League A, I’d be very proud of the players.”
League of Nations group perspective
With two games to go, the stakes are high for both sides when it comes to the Nations League.
For Belgium, a win here keeps them close to group leaders the Netherlands and will set up a penalty shoot-out in the final Group 4 game with the Dutch, no matter what Louis van Gaal’s side do against Poland this season. night.
For Wales the equation is simple. They must win tonight to have a chance of avoiding relegation when they take on Poland on Sunday.
watch the scenes
No punches thrown by Martinez
Belgium are presenting what looks like a strong team on paper. De Bruyne, Hazard, Tielemans, Witsel, to name just four. Top class talent everywhere….
With a World Cup just around the corner and a Nations League group win to chase, Roberto Martinez is not playing here.
Here are the teams…
Belgium XI: Courtois; Debast, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Meunier, Tielemans, Witsel, Carrasco; De Bruyne, Batshuayi, Danger
Wales XI: Hennessey; Mepham, Rodon, Norrington-Davies; Roberts, Ampadu, Smith, N Williams; Johnson, Moore, James
…and welcome to the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels, where Belgium and Wales meet for the fourth time in the last 18 months.
This clash comes in the UEFA Nations League, but the importance of the game surely lies more in its ability as the first of two final games before both teams head to the World Cup in Qatar in November.
Roberto Martinez and Rob Page have just the rest of this week to work with their teams before finalizing their selection plans ahead of the World Cup, which means the fringe members of the squad will be desperate to impress as they try to book their place in the plane to Qatar.
Tonight’s teams have met regularly for the past decade. In fact, after meeting only eight times between 1949 and 1997, they have equaled that number since 2012, and tonight’s meeting is the ninth in that period.
Belgian superstar Kevin de Bruyne even admitted to being bored facing Wales in the run up to this one.
“I think half my international career has been against Wales,” said De Bruyne, the Manchester City midfielder. “I do not know why. It is a bit boring. I think there are 12 times that I have played them, they are always the same teams”.
While the quote was made more in jest than sternly, it’s worth noting that head-to-head clashes between the teams since 2012 have been remarkably remarkable even considering Belgium’s place among the presumed elite of international football.
Each side has two wins out of eight games, with the remaining four, including the most recent two, resulting in draws.
While the focus is understandably on the World Cup, Rob Page will know that a loss for his team here will doom them to relegation to League B in the Nations League.
The Welsh have just one point from their four Group 4 games, but a win here would set them up for a relegation decider against Poland on Sunday.