Red Devils struggle past Wales in a goodbye match

Red Devils struggle past Wales in a goodbye match
Red Devils struggle past Wales in a goodbye match

The Red Devils won 2-1 against Wales on Thursday evening, on the fifth and penultimate match day in group 4 of the A-division in the Nations League.

Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring on Michy Batshuayi’s lead after 10 minutes in the King Baudouin Stadium, in this goodbye match for the World Cup in Qatar, which will only start in just under two months. Batshuayi doubled the lead at halftime, this time with an assist from De Bruyne.

The match seemed over, but Kieffer Moore gave the Welshmen hope again just after the break with the connecting goal. The visitors did not come any further, after a very mediocre second half by the Belgians. In added time, Roberto Martinez was shown a red card for unsportsmanlike behaviour. On a throw-in for Wales, the national coach shielded the ball outside the lines.

In terms of efficiency, the very poorly started Belgians impressed in the opening phase, as the first ball towards the goal of Welsh goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey immediately resulted in a goal. Michy Batshuayi continued well on the right, kept the overview and found Kevin De Bruyne who had dropped out, who scored his 25th goal for the national team in the sixteenth. Soon it was 2-0, this time the danger came from the left: Yannick Carrasco was allowed to walk and served Youri Tielemans, who decided in front.

Kevin De Bruyne

Afterwards, the Belgian opportunities piled up and there was no longer any question of efficiency. KDB was by far the most industrious Belgian and shot the best opportunity on the post, in the retake an equally sharp Carrasco did not get past Hennessey.

De Bruyne and Batsman turned the tables for the 2-0. KDB continued on the right this time and found his striker at the far post, where Batshuayi had to push in. The Fenerbahçe attacker did what he does for the Red Devils in almost every game: score. In 46 caps, he now has 26 goals, an insane average.

It seemed too easy at times – it was also a battered Wales that had descended to the Heysel. The visitors were not forced to do more than a dangerous standstill phase. It did not yield more than a spectacular parade by Thibaut Courtois.

Just like in the first half, the Belgians did not start sharply after the break. Eden Hazard had just been kicked out by Chris Mepham when Kieffer Moore headed the connecting goal past Courtois like a devil from a box: 2-1 and so the zero at the back was once again not kept. Debutant Zeno Debast also didn’t seem to be completely free with the goal against, otherwise the Anderlecht defender held up quite well. However, it remains to be seen who the national coach on the right will start the World Cup with in his three-man defense. Eden Hazard, who is gradually starting to balance with Leandro Trossard, showed a lot of good will, but was too little involved in the game.

It was Belgium’s last home game before the start of the World Cup. On Sunday they close their Nations League campaign against the Netherlands, which went on to win 0-2 in Poland. Orange still has three points ahead of Belgium and since the Devils lost 1-4 against the Netherlands a few months ago, a sold-out ArenA will have to be won by at least three goals difference. After all, in the event of a tie, the mutual result is decisive, afterwards the mutual goal difference and only then the goal difference in all group matches. Only the group winner qualifies for the Final Four, which will be played in June 2023 and for which Belgium is a candidate organizer.

Sunday’s game in Amsterdam is mainly the last before national coach Roberto Martinez has to submit his 26-man selection for the World Cup in November. The Red Devils start the shortened World Cup preparation on Monday 14 November in Tubize, travel to Kuwait a day later to complete a friendly match against Egypt on Friday 18 November and then travel from there to Qatar. After all, the first group match against Canada follows five days later. Morocco is the second opponent on Sunday 27 November. In their last group match, the Belgians will compete against vice world champions Croatia on Thursday 1 December.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Red Devils struggle Wales goodbye match

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