Belgium will be looking to get their World Cup qualifying campaign off to a quick start in Leuven on Wednesday but know they will face a tough test against a Wales side not short of individual talent. For both sides' this Group E meeting will inevitably bring with it reminders of the Euro 2016 quarters when a highly favored Belgian team were stunned in Lille, Aaron Ramsey starring in a 3-1 win that ranks among the finest nights in Welsh footballing history.
Indeed Wales are undefeated in their last four meetings with the top team in the Fifa rankings but making it five would be quite the achievement against a nation brimming with talent in its peak years. Here's how you can watch the match and everything you need to know.
- Date: Wednesday, Mar. 24 | Time: 3:45 p.m. ET
- Location: Den Dreef -- Leuven, Belgium
- TV/Live stream: ESPN+
- Odds: Belgium -400; Draw +450; Wales +1200 (via William Hill Sportsbook)
Belgium: Is the clock beginning to tick on Belgium's golden generation? They will head into this summer's European Championships as one of the favorites and will surely retain that status should they reach Qatar 2022. If neither of those end in a first major international crown it is tempting to wonder if the Red Devils might just go down as one of the nearly men of recent years.
Kevin De Bruyne turns 30 this summer, Eden Hazard already has and is struggling with consistent injuries that have ruled him out of this squad. Meanwhile the likes of Dries Mertens, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen -- all pillars of Belgium's recent success -- are not able to shine on the same consistent level as before. There is young talent coming through such as Youri Tielemans, Jeremy Doku and Zinho Vanheusden but the next 18 months could come to define those who have blazed a trail for Belgian football over the past decade.
Wales: Gareth Bale and company will have to do without head coach Ryan Giggs once more as he is on "special leave" following his arrest on suspicion in November of assaulting his girlfriend. Robert Page will take caretaker charge as he did in November, when Wales topped their Nations League group and in the process put themselves firmly in contention for a World Cup qualifying spot.
However, it could be Bale who takes on a greater leadership role, according to Joe Allen, who said of the Tottenham forward and Wales captain: "Being the captain is a huge role. But one he is made for. He's been a talisman for years now for us. You can see that the young players and the senior ones -- and I speak for myself -- that I really look up to him.
"The way he approaches every camp for Wales, the dedication and commitment he shows, on top of his world-class ability is inspiring. He keeps the standards really high and sets the tone for everyone, especially the younger players to look up to and follow."
This Wales team continue to be a tough out for even the best sides but in the end one would expect the greater talent across the Belgian side to get them to victory. Pick: Belgium 2 Wales 1