Wales lose to Belgium in Nations League despite encouraging performance in Brussels

Wales’ penultimate game before the World Cup ended in a 2-1 Nations League defeat by Belgium in Brussels.

Kevin De Bruyne and Michy Batshuayi rewarded Belgium’s first-half dominance with well-crafted goals and Wales looked set to falter.

But Kieffer Moore halved the deficit five minutes after the break and Robert Page’s side put in a much-improved second-half performance to give encouragement two months before the World Cup in Qatar.

Wales will go into their last Nations League game at home against Poland on Sunday with hopes of survival intact.

Poland’s 2-0 home defeat by Holland means bottom-placed Wales can overtake them with a win in Cardiff and remain in the top flight of European football.

Wales were disrupted by injuries, with Aaron Ramsey, Ben Davies, Harry Wilson and Joe Allen all absent.

Skipper Gareth Bale was one of the substitutes after arriving late at camp from the United States on Tuesday.

Bale, who has been slowly building up his fitness in the US ahead of the World Cup, had played for Los Angeles FC in the early hours UK time on Monday morning.

This was the ninth meeting between the two countries in the past decade, during which time Wales have maintained their record with two wins, two losses and four draws.

De Bruyne had said before the game he was bored playing against Wales so often but the Manchester City midfielder didn’t show it as he put in a masterful display.

Brennan Johnson had struck a late equalizer in the sides’ clash in Cardiff three months ago and the Nottingham Forest winger formed a three-pronged attack alongside Moore and Daniel James.

Gareth Bale of Wales (left) and Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium) talk during the game in Brussels (Tim Goode/PA)

(PA wire)

Belgium had seven starters in the side that lost to Wales in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals, including De Bruyne, Thibaut Courtois and skipper Eden Hazard.

Wales started confidently but fell behind after 10 minutes when Batshuayi’s cross found De Bruyne and he casually put it past Wayne Hennessey, who got a hand on the shot.

Youri Tielemans and Hazard were inches from doubling the lead and De Bruyne, delighted with the generous space he was being granted, slammed a shot against a post.

De Bruyne set up the second Belgian after 37 minutes, rolling a defender superbly and crossing Batshuayi to convert the easiest tap-in.

There was a brief breather for Wales as Joe Rodon ran narrowly and Courtois saved Ethan Ampadu’s ensuing header.

But Wales was only spared when Hennessey’s outstretched leg pushed another attempt from De Bruyne around a post.

Wales returned to the competition with a goal from nowhere.

Kieffer Moore of Wales and Axel Witsel of Belgium wait for a free kick (Tim Goode/PA)

(PA wire)

Johnson spun and spun towards the Belgium box with a labyrinthine 40-yard run, and Moore got up at the far post to get his cross home in style.

Wales sent Bale on just after the hour mark and he was soon in the action as he met a cross from James which was deflected.

Belgium received a penalty for a foul on De Bruyne. However, replays showed Joe Morrell had touched the ball and the decision was overturned at VAR review. Wales lose to Belgium in Nations League despite encouraging performance in Brussels

Fry Electronics Team

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