Date: 1st July 2016 at 3:08pm
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Wales will be hoping to make it back-to-back wins over Belgium and book their place in the semi-finals of EURO 2016 on Friday night.

Chris Coleman’s side already made history when the Dragons qualified for their first major international tournament since the World Cup in 1958, in which they were knocked out in the quarter-finals.

But; Gareth Bale and his teammates will be hoping to go one better and beat Belgium for the second consecutive match, something they have not done since 1990.

Belgium; on the other hand, will be looking for revenge after failing to beat Wales in their qualification group for these finals, both home and away, losing the latter tie 1-0 thanks to a Bale winner.

Photo: Marc Atkins / Offside.

Everton striker Lukaku (Right) scored twice against the Republic of Ireland in Group E – Photo: Marc Atkins / Offside.

Marc Wilmots’ side looked indifferent during the group stage, but after their resounding 4-0 win over Hungary in the last-16, Belgium fans will hope that their talented squad has finally found a system in which they can be successful.

Plus, with the game taking place just over the Belgian border in Lille, it will almost feel like a home fixture for the Red Devils.

Belgium have perhaps the strongest squad out of all 24 nations that have competed at EURO 2016 this summer and will rely on key players, such as Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Axel Witsel to carry them through in what could be the most open match of the tournament so far.

Meanwhile; Wales will once again be looking for Bale or Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey to create a glorious opportunity, whilst the team will look to exploit Chris Gunter and Neil Taylor’s darting runs, as the full-backs will hope to give Belgium’s defence something to think about.

Wales have been one of the surprise teams of the tournament and thoroughly deserve their place in the last-eight, after topping Group B which included Slovakia, Russia and neighbours England. They then narrowly beat Northern Ireland 1-0 in the Round of 16.

Belgium though were expected to make the quarter-finals at least and will fancy their chances of progressing through to the last-four, in a match where they are considered favourites.

The Red Devils finished runners-up to Italy in Group E, which was arguably the most difficult group in the draw, which also contained Ireland and Sweden. But, they proved their worth by thrashing Hungary 4-0 in the last-16.

The two sides have only ever met 12 times before Friday’s match in Lille, with the Belgians winning five of those, Wales have notched up four victories and have drew the remaining three.

Wales will be hoping to keep yet another clean sheet against their opponents, who despite their attacking prowess, failed to find the net in the two qualifiers building up to this tournament. This will also be the first time that the Dragons have played in Lille in their history.

Belgium’s 4-0 win over Hungary in the last round is still the most emphatic victory at EURO 2016 and is their best-ever result at a major international tournament.

Photo: Mark Leech

Wales edged past Northern Ireland 1-0 in the Round of 16 – Photo: Mark Leech

Team News:

Wales boss Coleman has no injury worries ahead of the fixture and is likely to start the same side against Northern Ireland.

Although the manager’s biggest decision is deciding whether to start either Bale; who is the competition’s joint top goalscorer with three goals, as the focal point of attack with Johnny Williams in midfield – or for Hal Robson-Kanu to lead the line.

Belgium will be without FC Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen, who is suspended for the match after receiving another yellow card against Hungary.

Coach Wilmots is also sweating on whether Hazard will be able to feature after picking up a thigh injury and has missed training this week.

FIFA World Ranking: Wales – 26th; Belgium – 2nd
Best European Championship Finish: Wales – Quarter-Finals (2016); Belgium – Runners-Up (1980)
Previous Meeting: Wales 1-0 Belgium – June 1, 2015 (European Championship Qualifier)
Form: Wales – LLWLWW; Belgium – DWLWWW
Key Men: Wales – Gareth Bale; Belgium – Eden Hazard
Shoot Says: Wales 0-2 Belgium

 
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