- End of 2nd Half
- 2nd Half
- Lukaku (P)73'
- 1/2 Time
- 1st Half
- De Bruyne22'
Belgium - Wales
Follow the World Cup Qualification UEFA live Football match between Belgium and Wales with Eurosport. The match starts at 19:45 on 24 March 2021.
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We're done here, Belgium have won it 3-1.
Mertens comes off for Belgium, and it'll be a 20 second appearance for Leandro Trossard.
Mepham tries a long, low ball into the channel for Moore, who hasn't read it and the ball drifts out for a goal kick. We'll have two additional minutes.
Mertens tries a curler from outside the box, but it's a tame effort that bounces softly into the hands of Ward.
Wales work a crossing chance for Connor Roberts, who overhits Moore in the middle. Williams retrieves the loose ball and wins a corner.
Belgium make a change, as Hazard makes way for Timothy Castagne. For Wales, Kieffer Moore comes on for Bale.
Bale and James try to combine in the Belgian area, but Bale's scooped pass is behind his colleague and Belgium clear.
That could have been an interesting last quarter the way Wales were playing in this half, but the sting has gone right out of this now. Belgium are knocking it around for giggles in midfield.
- Yellow cardThorgan HazardBelgium
Roberts and Hazard have a little scuffle, the result of which is that Thorgan's name is taken by Cekir.
That could be the game. Connor Roberts almost gets in behind the Belgians, but Courtois is out to gather the ball.
- Goal by penaltyRomelu LukakuBelgium
GOAL! Belgium 3 (Lukaku pen. 73) Wales 1
It's in! Lukaku coolly sends Ward the wrong way and tucks the ball low into the net.
PENALTY! De Bruyne finds Meunier, whose cross is tipped away on the stretch by Ward. It falls to Mertens, who gets to the ball just ahead of Mepham who brings him down.
De Bruyne tries to flick the ball through to Lukaku, who is through but half a yard offside.
- OffHarry WilsonWales
- OnTyler RobertsWales
A change for Wales, as Tyler Roberts comes on for Wilson.
CHANCE(S)! De Bruyne picks out Mertens with a stunning pass, and Mertens squares it across the area to Lukaku. It looks a clear hit, but Lawrence just about gets in a challenge to block the shot. The ball eventually breaks to De Bruyne on the edge, who lashes a wicked curling shot into the side-netting.
Mertens nicks the ball off Ampadu in the middle of the Welsh half. He can't find Lukaku, and seemed to be clearly fouled as he played the ball, but it's waved on.
A tremendous switch of play from Roberts gets Wales away down the left through Bale and then Williams. It comes to nought, but they're asking questions of Belgium here.
Maybe a third of a chance for Wales here; Courtois is forced to rush a clearance, and is briefly out of position as Wales work the ball to James on the edge of the area. He slashes his shot hopelessly wide, but the visitors are right in this.
More good stuff from Wales as James cuts in from the left and unloads, but his 20-yard strike is well wide of the far post.
Mertens, who has been very quiet, escapes down the left for Belgium but his back heel for Hazard doesn't come off and the danger passes.
It's been a lively enough start to the second half by Wales, who are getting about the heels of the Belgians and pressing high.
A couple of half-chance here for Wales. Bale gets away down the right and ghosts past Vertonghen into the area, but rather than shoot through bodies with his left he tries to cut back onto his right, and the chance disappears. Seconds later James diverts a cross to him on the edge of the six-yard box, but Bale miscues his extravagant attempt at an overhead kick and scuffs the ball well wide.
Williams lobs one up to the back post for Roberts, who can't guide his header into the path of Wilson.
- 2nd Half
We're back underway in Leuven.
A change at the back for Belgium for the second half, as Jason Denayer replaces Vermaelen.
- End of 1st Half
That's the half.
We'll have two additional minutes.
A lull here as we approach half-time. Both sides seem happy with 2-1 for now.
Mertens finds De Bruyne, who tries to shimmy through three players on the edge of the area but overruns the ball and Wales clear.
Lovely footwork from Lukaku spins him out of two challenges 30 yards from goal; Hazard comes in and takes the ball off his toes, only to wallop his shot comically high over the bar.
Dendoncker flattens Wilson in the middle of the pitch as Wales briefly threaten to break. That's two Dendoncker has got away with now.
Tielemans and Lukaku combine nicely on the edge of the area, teeing up Hazard who lashes his shot over the bar.
Belgium really have turned this around effortlessly.
- GoalThorgan HazardBelgium
GOAL! Belgium 2 (Hazard 28) Wales 1
This was so simple. Meunier swings a cross in from the right. Roberts slips at the back post, leaving Hazard completely free to head past Ward from six yards out.
It's been a long passage of possession by Belgium here, Wales just can't get the ball.
That's the danger of letting De Bruyne let his right foot go. He is slowly taking this over.
- GoalKevin De BruyneBelgium
GOAL! Belgium 1 (De Bruyne 22) Wales 1
We're level, and it's out of nothing! Hazard finds De Bruyne, who is central and 25 yards from goal. He fires a low shot at goal, which flashes past Ward with one bounce and goes in off the post.
Keepball here for Belgium, but it's not coming to much. Wilson is playing through the middle here for Wales, with James and Bale wide of him, which is keeping the Belgian back three occupied in possession.
CHANCE! What a miss by Lukaku! De Bruyne whips in a near perfect ball from the right, and Lukaku half-volleys the ball over the bar from six yards out.
More pressure from Belgium, as a bouncing shot from Tielemans deflects wide for a corner.
Wales lose the ball in midfield when Lawrence overruns it. De Bruyne finds Lukaku on the right of the area, but his attempted curler to the far corner is blocked.
What a stunning goal from Wales. Crisp, incisive passing that was virtually impossible to defend.
- GoalHarry WilsonWales
GOAL! Belgium 0 Wales 1 (Wilson 10)
What a goal! Wales break down the right through Harry Wilson. Three one touch passes later, the last one from Bale to release Wilson clean through on goal and breaking Belgium's offside trap, leaves Wilson the chance to side-foot the ball into the far corner and give Wales the lead!
Joe Morrell replaces Allen. That's an early blow for Wales.
Joe Allen has tweaked his hamstring here, and is grimacing; he'll have to come off.
Wales have started well here, and are holding a good shape. James has a dart down the left, carrying it deep into the Belgian half, but is eventually crowded out.
A long ball over the top by Vermaelen briefly looks like it might release Mertens through on goal, but he's offside.
Right then, we're off.
The players take the knee before kick-off. There is no room for racism.
We're nearly ready to go here, the players are out and the anthems are underway. Your referee tonight is Cuneyt Cakir.
The record between these two is level; five wins apiece, with three draws. They last time they met, in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 in Lille, was the most memorable night in Welsh football history. If you want to feel what it meant, jump to 5.47 on the video below for Craig Bellamy's reaction when Sam Vokes nodded in Wales's third. Magical.
Wales have qualified for two European Championships on the spin. A mighty fine achievement, but let's be honest; the Euros is not the World Cup. Wales have made just one appearance at the greatest show on earth, back in 1958 when Pele broke their hearts in the quarter-finals. Another visit is overdue; suitably emboldened by establishing themselves as a modern regular at the Euros, can this squad make it all the way to Qatar?
Is it time to start cashing it in? Arguably their greatest ever generation of players – and their early to mid-eighties vintage are a persuasive counter thrust – have to date achieved one third-placed finish at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Can they go one or two better in Qatar next winter? They’ll have to get there first, and qualification for the big one doesn’t leave much margin for error. Joining Belgium and Wales in Group E are the Czech Republic, Belarus and Estonia, with only one team guaranteed to qualify directly.
Are Wales workshopping a hipster, strikerless formation here? Of course not, two of their players will be playing up front. Gareth Bale and Daniel James might not be centre forwards by trade, but they’ve got enough gas and trickery to keep the Belgian back three on its toes tonight. There’s potential history in the making from the bench tonight; if Chris Gunter enters the fray, he’ll become the first Welsh player in history to reach 100 caps.
No Eden Hazard for Belgium tonight, he’s injured, but the hosts have a wealth of attacking talent packed into their line-up tonight. Between them Kevin De Bruyne, Dries Mertens, Romelu Lukaku and Thorgan Hazard have 102 international goals to their collective name.
Croeso i Gymru:
Here are your hosts, Belgium:
Good evening, and welcome to live coverage of Belgium versus Wales in this opening World Cup qualifier in UEFA Group E.
World Cup qualifiers before the preceding European Championship has been played, I hear you cry? Yes, such is the rejigged football calendar due to the coronavirus pandemic, although this used to be commonplace for teams that hadn’t made it to the Euros. Both of these teams have, of course; Wales will be contesting their second in a row while Belgium, currently ranked number one in the world, will be one of the short-priced favourites for the title this summer.
Tonight however is all about the road to Qatar 2022, and it starts in Leuven. Teams to follow shortly, let’s get about it.