Kevin De Bruyne directs Red Devils to victory against Wales before halftime, but Final Four Nations League seems far away

Kevin De Bruyne directs Red Devils to victory against Wales before halftime, but Final Four Nations League seems far away
Kevin De Bruyne directs Red Devils to victory against Wales before halftime, but Final Four Nations League seems far away

We are two months before the start of the World Cup in Qatar and the Red Devils already had their last match on Belgian soil. Their big goodbye match. How bizarre. The priority will of course be that winter world championship, because winning this Nations League group was no mean feat before kick-off. For that we had to count on a misstep by the Netherlands in Poland and take the victory against the Welshmen ourselves.

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It could be an extra motivation that the Final Four of the Nations League would be finished in June 2023 in Brussels and Liège if Belgium could push through, but our internationals are not awake at all about that. The Devils started off weak and aggressive against Wales. The flames on the sleeves of their hotly debated new shirts were the most fiery. Roberto Martinez nevertheless had a pretty traditional team. The team that in his eyes is the strongest and that radiates the most experience. That meant that acclaimed men like De Ketelaere and Trossard started on the bench. Zeno Debast was the only newcomer and was posted to the right in the three-man defence. For example, Belgium started with a defense that consisted entirely of Jupiler Pro League players, including Alderweireld and Vertonghen. That was already from February 9, 2005 against Egypt (0-4) ago. Then the Club boys De Cock, Clement and Simons stood next to Anderlecht player Kompany.

Anyway, the visitors who missed big names like Aaron Ramsey (Nice), Joe Allen (Swansea) and Gareth Bale started enthusiastically and the Belgians were pushed back. That will soon not be allowed in Qatar. Our great asset, however, remains that we can also hit from scratch. If Kevin De Bruyne just blinks his eyes, something can happen. That’s what happened in the quarter. Meunier sent Batshuayi away, who put the ball back and De Bruyne put the 1-0 against the nets. Master at work.

We will need this De Bruyne in Qatar, because every time he got going, there was magic in the air. It’s great to see the Man City turntable sometimes drop out and then go deep again. Once he hit the post and then the keeper again. He could have scored more, but when King Kev sent in a measured cross, Batshuayi pushed in the 2-0. The striker has already scored his 26th goal in 46 international matches.

In the absence of Lukaku, all our hopes rest mainly on Kevin De Bruyne. Martinez also gave Eden Hazard an hour to play, but the Real player is far from old. Hazard also came for the ball very deeply to make the play, but rarely flashed. Only once did a ball from him go past. Surely he must be more and more in balance with Trossard? He came in after the break.

Not the zero again

The Belgians wanted to tame their black beast from Wales and finally keep the zero again. In the last 11 international matches, the Red Devils conceded no fewer than 15 goals. With regard to Qatar, a clean sheet would give confidence. Unfortunately. Just after the break a ball was thrown in front of the goal and Zeno Debast was trumped by the giant Kieffer Moore: 2-1. Bales for the youngster who didn’t play badly, but still acted more nervously than at Anderlecht. We will also need a very strong Thibaut Courtois in Qatar to push through.

Wales did not come any further despite Bale’s substitute. The Belgian public waved goodbye to the Devils in Brussels, but the fans are a lot less confident than before the previous major tournaments. The mediocre second half was no exception. What will it be in the desert?

One last serious test will follow on Sunday, because then the Belgians will meet Orange in Amsterdam. Since the Dutch won in Poland, the group win and the final seems four away. We are certainly not going to win with three goals difference in the Johan Cruijff-ArenA. But after the 1-4 pandoering in the first leg, we still have a serious egg to peel with our northern neighbors. The Welshmen did not defend very seriously, the Orange will probably stick the knife between their teeth. Can we please take revenge?

  • * Belgium wins penultimate Nations League match against Wales 2-1

    * De Bruyne and Batshuayi score, Moore counters

    * On Sunday, group leader Netherlands awaits in battle for place in Final Four

  • 7 hours ago


    Belgium beat Wales 2-1

    The Red Devils have done what they had to do against the black beast Wales. Without much shine, but with an impressive De Bruyne (goal + assist) and a pure Batshuayi (goal + assist), our national eleven kept the three points at home. Moore’s goal just after the break made it exciting. On to Sunday, against the Netherlands. That will be without national coach Martinez on the bench, he got red just before the whistle.

  • 7 hours ago

    90+6′ End of the 2nd half

  • 7 hours ago


    One last time Courtois

    A deep Welsh ball sails past everything and everyone, including Gareth Bale. A piece of cake for Courtois, who can pick easily. You don’t have to teach him the art of time wasting. Our national goalie steals a few seconds on the ground.

  • 7 hours ago


    Red for Martinez!

    And whether we have a cunning national coach. Roberto Martinez keeps track of the ball on the sidelines, hoping to take the sting out of a potentially dangerous Welsh attack. He buys that with a red cardboard and will not be there against the Netherlands on Sunday.

  • 7 hours ago


    Applause replacement

    Substitute for Belgium. Charles De Ketelaere replaces man of the match Kevin De Bruyne. He is treated to a round of applause, and rightly so!

  • 7 hours ago


    Six extra minutes

    Six more minutes separate the Belgians from three important points in the Nations League group stage. Meunier tries to color the extra time, but his shot sails wide and over.

  • 7 hours ago


    Courtois again

    It suddenly gets hot in front of Courtois’ goal. Now it is Johnson who brings the leather hard, no Welshmen to be seen. But Courtois intervenes and pushes the ball away.

  • 7 hours ago


    Courtois must be alert

    A Welshmen can strike from afar, Courtois is at the ready on the steel-hard shot.

  • 7 hours ago


    Mertens is wrong

    There’s ‘Ciro’ Mertens. He gets the ball in the box and brings out one of his signature moves. Spinning in and spinning the ball towards goal. Too bad for Mertens, he also turns the ball wrong, eventually away from the goal.

  • 7 hours ago


    Openda wants an eleven meter

    It passes almost silently, but with a play-in pass, Openda suddenly lies against the ground. He wants a penalty but gets no response.

  • 7 hours ago


    Almost 2-2

    The Welsh right back Roberts gets a lot of space from Trossard to put the head back in the sixteen. He finds Johnson, but luckily for Courtois and his peers, his shot goes wide. But a warned man is worth two, five minutes plus extra time. Will the Belgians hold out?

  • 8 hours ago



    Swap at Wales. Tyler Roberts replaces Rhys Norrington-Davies.

  • 8 hours ago


    Will the Belgians hold out?

    Just under ten minutes and it can still be quite exciting. The Belgians have a narrow lead of one goal and are not immediately ready for more. A shot from Wales can be enough for a draw, although of course we believe in our national eleven. Go Belgium!

  • 8 hours ago


    Still no penalty!

    After seeing the VAR images, the referee Palabiyik has a different opinion: no penalty for the Belgians. Morrel’s intervention was completely by the book.

  • 8 hours ago


    Penalty for Belgium?

    Meunier finds De Bruyne in the sixteen, who goes down after light contact with Morrel. But the latter seems to be playing the ball. Will the ref reconsider his decision?

  • 8 hours ago


    Vertonghen capi

    Now that Eden Hazard has taken a shower, Jan Vertonghen has hung the captain’s armband around his arm. The experienced hand, active again in Belgium at Anderlecht, is therefore the vice-captain of our national pride.

  • 8 hours ago



    Substitute for Belgium. Hans Vanaken replaces Youri Tielemans.

  • 8 hours ago


    Wales is coming up

    Things don’t really run smoothly for the Belgians anymore, at least not like in the first half. Meunier unnecessarily works a harmless cross from Daniel James into a corner, fortunately without any problem for the Belgians. Bale’s input has undoubtedly given the Welshmen a boost.

  • 8 hours ago


    Page has his page in the Welsh history books

    Wales national team coach Rob Page made history with his troops a while ago. He led ‘Y Dreigiau’, Welsh for the red dragon on the national flag, to the first World Cup in 64 years. He saw that impressive performance being rewarded with a contract extension, until after the 2026 World Cup. Great work by Page!

The article is in Dutch


Tags: Kevin Bruyne directs Red Devils victory Wales halftime Final Nations League

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