Wales secured a World Cup place with a win over Ukraine back in June, but that’s their only victory from their past six outings as they’ve struggled with the step up in quality having been promoted to League A.
However, it should be noted that both defeats to the Netherlands and the loss to Poland all came by one-goal margins, as all three of those games saw late strikes to affect the outcome.
The Dragons can also take confidence from their 1-1 draw with Belgium in Cardiff, continuing a highly impressive head-to-head record with the Red Devils. In seven meetings since 2013, Wales are W2-D4-L1 and failed to find the net on just a single occasion, with both sides scoring in each of the last four tussles.
Gareth Bale could however be absent for this fixture with club side Los Angeles facing Houston Dynamo in the early hours of Monday morning, a match in which the 33-year-old featured as a second-half substitute.
The former Real Madrid star moved to the MLS in part to ensure regular game time to get fit for the World Cup, but after a promising start with a couple of early goals, he’s failed to score since and rarely gets more than half an hour from the bench.
Both Teams To Score
Still, this isn’t new territory for Wales’ record goalscorer and it hasn’t prevented him from delivering telling moments of quality in the past when the national side has needed him most.
There’s also less of a reliance upon the veteran with a variety of exciting younger talents coming through and in fact, of the eight goals Wales scored against Belgium in those most recent seven clashes, only one was bagged by Bale.
Still, Robert Page’s selection problems don’t stop there with a slew of other regulars missing. Defenders Ben Davies, James Lawrence and Tom Lockyer all miss out on the squad, as do veteran midfield pair Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey, while amongst the other absentees Harry Wilson is the main loss.
Belgium’s attack is also reduced with Romelu Lukaku and exciting youngster Jeremy Doku both injured, while Divock Origi misses out following a poor start to his Milan career. There’s plenty of creativity in the engine room but the defence remains a weak spot, with Vincent Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen retired, while Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen now 33 and 35 respectively.
Belgium To Win 2-1
Belgium have actually registered just two clean sheets in 10 matches over the past 12 months, with one of those picked up in a friendly at home to Burkina Faso.
That includes both games with Wales themselves, while even Estonia were able to land a consolation effort in Brussels in a World Cup qualifier despite Roberto Martinez picking his strongest available side.
Belgium To Win By 1 Goal
Although Wales have proven largely competitive against top sides, who have to sweat for the three points, they have typically come up short.
They've lost six of eight winless encounters with elite outfits Belgium, England, France, Italy and the Netherlands since 2010, though both teams scored in each of the last four such matches, while they haven’t lost by more than a single strike across the last five of these.
BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE
BELGIUM TO WIN BY 1 GOAL
BELGIUM TO WIN 2-1
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