Euro 2016: Wales manager Coleman promises Belgium ‘hell of a game’
Emboldened by Belgium’s defensive selection problems, Wales manager Chris Coleman has told Eden Hazard and his team mates to expect “a hell of a game” .euro 2016 Updated: Jul 01, 2016 12:36 IST
Emboldened by Belgium’s defensive selection problems, Wales manager Chris Coleman has told Eden Hazard and his team mates to expect “a hell of a game” in Friday’s Euro 2016 quarter-final.Hazard starred as Belgium crushed Hungary 4-0 in the last 16, but his side have since lost Thomas Vermaelen to suspension and Jan Vertonghen to injury, robbing coach Marc Wilmots of the left half of his defence.
Wales needed a Gareth McAuley own goal to edge Northern Ireland, but with Belgium a much more attacking team, Coleman is hoping that Gareth Bale will be able to wreak havoc on their rejigged rearguard.
“They’ll play the way they play. They play with imagination, they’ve got pace and power. We’ll play the way we play,” said Coleman, whose country will be playing in their first quarter-final since the 1958 World Cup.
”When it’s time to defend, we’ll defend with our lives and when it’s time to attack, we’ll attack with our lives. If we do that, Belgium will be in for a hell of a game.”
A historic semi-final against Portugal or Poland in Lyon on July 6 awaits the victors of the game at Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
Perennial dark horses Belgium, second in the FIFA rankings, are desperate to make good on their squad’s vast potential and reach a first major semi-final since the 1986 World Cup.
But having outlasted British rivals England and Northern Ireland, Wales are full of confidence and seeking to go one better than the team that fell to Brazil and a 17-year-old Pele at the 1958 World Cup.
Wales took four points from Belgium in qualifying, prompting Bale to claim that they are the Red Devils’ “bogey team”.
But it was who Belgium who had the upper hand in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, winning away and drawing at home, and Wilmots believes there is little between the teams.
Friday’s game has been billed as a shootout between Hazard and Real Madrid star Bale, each of whom symbolise ‘Golden Generations’ that have arrived at sporting maturity at roughly the same time.
Hazard sustained a minor thigh problem against Hungary that kept him out of training for two days, but he worked out on Thursday and said he was ready to play.
Atletico Madrid winger Yannick Ferreira Carrasco could also return to the team in place of Dries Mertens.Wales captain Ashley Williams has been passed fit after injuring his left shoulder against Northern Ireland, while Hal Robson-Kanu is vying with Sam Vokes for a starting berth up front.