Wales v Belgium: Page's men can secure second with draw

Wales have plenty of good history against Belgium and can secure second spot in World Cup qualifying Group E by holding the visitors to a draw on Tuesday, says Dave Tindall...

Wales need a point

Spain's win over Greece on Thursday night meant Wales had already qualified for a World Cup play-off spot (courtesy of their performances in the Nations League) before they kicked off at home to Belarus two days later.

Perhaps freed up a little, they hit five goals for the first time in a competitive match since 2007, winning 5-1 thanks to strikes from Aaron Ramsey (2), Neco Williams, Ben Davies and Connor Roberts.

The incentive now for Wales is to bank second place in the group and secure a home tie in the semi-finals.

To achieve that runners-up spot they need a point against Belgium. The backdoor is if the Czech Republic fail to win at home to Estonia.

There's also a scenario that would see Wales and the Czechs finish equal on points, goal difference and goals scored if the Welsh lose 1-0 and the Czech Republic win 1-0.

In that event it's head-to-heads and the good news for Robert Page's men is that they'd go through having taken four points out of six against the Czechs.

However if the Czechs won 2-1 and Wales lost 1-0, the Czech Republic go through on goals scored.

The simplest thing for Wales, then, is to get a point or, better still, a win.

If they finish third and therefore have to play their Nations League qualification card, Wales will have to contest the one-legged play-off semi-final away from home.

Got it?!

Belgium have dominated Group E

As expected when the draw was made, Belgium have rather walked the group.

So far they've won six out of seven and drawn the other (away to the Czechs), racking up 24 goals in the process and conceding just five.

Apart from the 2-2 in Prague, their other away games show a 5-2 win in Estonia and a 1-0 success in Belarus.

They remain the No.1 side in the FIFA world rankings and, as a rule, beat just about everyone apart from the very best in the latter stages of big competitions.

At least Wales won't have to deal with Romelu Lukaku, who remains sidelined. However, the Chelsea striker's absence didn't stop them beating Estonia 3-1 on Saturday night.

They achieved that win via goals from Christian Benteke, Yannick Carrasco and Thorgan Hazard.

Wales will hope history repeats

If Wales had to pick a big side to get a point or more from it would probably be Belgium.

They took four points off Belgium in qualifying for that tournament via a 0-0 in Brussels and a 1-0 win in Cardiff, Gareth Bale getting the winner.

In fact they were four games unbeaten against the Red Devils until losing 3-1 in March although, even then, they gave them a scare when Harry Wilson scored an excellent opening goal in the 10th minute.

Draw looks the play

Looking at the outrights, Wales are 3.35 to get the win while Belgium are 2.38The Draw, which is enough for Wales, is 3.35.

Those are prices which probably reflect that Wales have the greater incentive.

As for team news, Bale, who won his 100th cap on Saturday, was withdrawn at half-time against Belarus as a precaution. That denied him the big ovation so Page was clearly taking the sensible rather than sentimental route.

Bale is again likely to play limited minutes here after his lengthy lay-off.

Ethan Ampadu is definitely out after receiving a yellow card against Belarus and subsequent suspension. A host of Welsh players are also walking a disciplinary tightrope although Page insists he doesn't want them pulling out of tackles even if it means picking up the second booking that would cause them to miss the play-offs.

This is definitely a tough one to call. Wales are a shorter price than I'd want for the win and Belgium very rarely lose to anyone but the very best.

Roberto Martinez's side do throw in draws though. In 2021 they were held by the Czech Republic and Greece while rewind a little further and they drew with the Ivory Coast.

There's no Lukaku so I'll back Wales at 3.35 to get the draw the need.

Ramsay value to score

Aaron Ramsey has four goals in his last six internationals so looks a value play at 4/1 (Sportsbook) to score anytime.

He bagged a brace against Belarus and could be on penalty duty again if Bale doesn't play for long.

For Belgium, Yannick Carrasco is also 4/1 and looks the pick of the Belgians at the prices.

The Atletico Madrid star has two in his last three for Belgium and also netted in his last home game in La Liga.

On the Bet Builder, Ramsey and Carrasco both to score is approximately 24.0 and that's worth a little play.

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