EURO 2016 TORI – RIVAL GOLDEN GENERATIONS OF WALES, BELGIUM BID FOR GLORY
Wales are happy to cast themselves as underdogs in their Euro 2016 quarter-final against Belgium Tonight (Friday) but such modesty belies their proven ability to bite hard.
The Belgians, who finally came together as a team to demolish Hungary 4-0 in their last-16 match, will start as favourites. Both sides, though, are fully aware that Wales have proved their mettle against Belgium, beating them 1-0 in Cardiff and drawing in Brussels in the tournament’s qualifying stage.
Belgium, playing before what will be virtually a home crowd in the northern French town of Lille, are under huge pressure for their much-vaunted golden generation to fulfil their promise and finally challenge for a major trophy. Wales could also claim to have developed a golden generation, spearheaded by Gareth Bale, even if they have fewer illustrious players than the side ranked number two in the world.
Bale, the world’s most expensive player, has scored three goals and fired in the cross that led to Northern Ireland’s own goal in Wales’s 1-0 last-16 victory. His ability to seize the moment, not least at free kicks, could be pivotal.