Devils Unable To Slay Dragons
Wales travelled to Brussels on Sunday to take on the fourth best team in the world, Belgium in an attempt to widen the gap at the top of Group B in the Euro 2016 qualifiers. However, the home side created the majority of the chances and were unlucky to only come away with one point.
Belgium may have been missing the captaincy of Vincent Kompany but they still boasted a starting line-up packed full of stars and a bench warmed by Christian Benteke, Adnan Januzaj and Romelu Lukaku.
Wales had Ashley Williams and Aaron Ramsey on the pitch to support the brilliant Gareth Bale but this seemed to be the problem in the early stages.
Rather than pushing forward as a unit, Bale was the main target man for any Welsh distribution and, rather than taking up his favoured left-wing role, was deployed as a lone striker which restricted his effectiveness.
The game was very lively with both sides going for all three points. Bale tested Thibaut Courtois early on with a dipping free-kick before Hazard danced through the Welsh defence only to see his shot saved.
The Red Devils brought on Benteke after the break to partner Divock Origi up front as they reshuffled the formation to form a more top-heavy unit. Wales, therefore, reverted to a more defensive approach and broke on the counter attack whenever possible.
An injury to Belgium’s Dries Mertens slowed the game down as it took four minutes for the player to be stretchered off after being knocked out in a challenge with George Williams.
For all their resolve, the Welsh Dragons almost came undone in the final seconds when Benteke thundered a header goalwards but the ball was eventually cleared off the line.
The goalless draw means Wales remain three points clear of group favourites Belgium who still have a game in hand. Coleman will be buoyed by the performance as the country is on the verge of qualifying for their first major tournament since the 1958 World Cup.