How Wales can keep Lukaku and Hazard quiet on Friday
Wales have defied all expectations in the European Championships so far by reaching the quarter finals of the competition and whatever happens during the latter stages, the Dragons will be able to return back home with their heads held high.
That being said, Wales will not want their campaign to end anytime soon and now Chris Coleman’s men have been handed a blockbuster quarter final encounter against much fancied Belgium at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy on Friday night.
It goes without saying that Wales head into the clash as massive underdogs and many feel that their wonderful European adventure will be coming to an end following the game.
However, one thing everyone should have learnt from the European Championship is that you can never underestimate Wales and Coleman and his men will surely have a game plan up their sleeve to cause an upset over the extremely talented Belgians.
These odds below from Bet365 show you the sort of task at hand Wales will be facing.
Stopping Lukaku and Hazard will be key
It is clear to see that Belgium possess a much better set of players individually in comparison to Wales and Coleman has admitted that his side simply cannot afford to play open expansive football against the Red Devils.
Coleman said, “If you go too open against Belgium they’ll go through you like knife through butter. They will do their homework on us, we will do the same on them. But our teams has always done well to step up to the big challenges.”
Therefore, it will be of paramount importance for Wales to be solid at the back throughout the game and try to hit the Belgians on the break with the pace of Gareth Bale and Jonny Williams.
Belgium manager Marc Wilmots likes to set his team up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Axel Witsel and Radja Nainggolan as the holding midfielders while the likes of Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku act as the attacking force.
During the 4-0 victory over Hungary in the Round of 16, Hazard was in imperious form and produced arguably the best individual performance of the 2016 European Championships so far.
Suffice to say, Wales will have to limit the influence of Hazard in order to stand a chance on Friday night. Wales will most likely lineup in their usual 5-3-2 formation, with three centre backs and two wing backs.
Hazard will be switching wings throughout the course of the game as he did against Hungary and the onus will be on the duo of Neil Taylor and Chris Gunter to produce a faultless performance.
In addition to Hazard, the Welsh defenders need to be wary of Romelu Lukaku as well. Lukaku is the target man for Belgium and although the Everton man did not score against Hungary, he was crucial in creating spaces for the attacking players such as Hazard and De Bruyne by preoccupying the opposition defenders.
Ashley Williams will most likely be handed the task of marking Lukaku during the clash and the duo of Ben Davies and James Chester will need to provide the skipper as much assistance as possible to negate the threat posed by Lukaku.
Wales undoubtedly face a huge task ahead of themselves but the Belgium side can be frustrated and if Coleman can get his defenders to perform, there is every possibility that the Dragons could nick a winner at the other end through the attacking talents of Bale or Williams.