Euro 2016 qualifiers: How Wales' foes Belgium rated against France

Belgium's Christian Benteke, Radja Nainggolan and Marouane Fellaini celebrate against France
Belgium's Christian Benteke, Radja Nainggolan and Marouane Fellaini celebrate against France

As Belgium prepared for Friday's Euro 2016 qualifier against Wales in Cardiff with an entertaining 4-3 friendly win in France, BBC Wales Sport's Dafydd Pritchard was at the Stade de France to see how the Red Devils are shaping up for the crucial Group B clash at Cardiff City Stadium and gives marks out of 10.

Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois (7)

Chelsea's goalkeeper is widely regarded as one of the best in the world, though he could do little about France's goals on Sunday. An imposing figure who commands his penalty box with absolute authority, Courtois is also an excellent last line of defence and capable of producing spectacular saves.

Right-back: Toby Alderweireld (6)

A familiar name to Premier League followers after his season on loan at Southampton, Alderweireld is a solid player who can play at centre-back or right-back. He looked a little vulnerable at times against France's pace out wide, which the watching Wales manager Chris Coleman may well have noted.

Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was been in fine form for Chelsea this season
Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was been in fine form for Chelsea this season

Centre-back: Jason Denayer (7)

With captain Vincent Kompany suspended for the game against Wales, fellow Manchester City centre-back Denayer is expected to step in like he did in Paris. Having spent the season on loan at Celtic, the composed 19-year-old has benefited from regular first-team football and seemed at ease against his experienced French opponents.

Euro 2016 Qualifying Group B

Centre-back: Nicolas Lombaerts (7)

In Kompany's absence, Lombaerts will be the senior centre-back when Belgium travel to Cardiff. A steady influence and strong in the air, the Zenit Saint Petersburg defender has the experience to guide the teenage Denayer alongside him.

Left-back: Jan Vertonghen (6)

Naturally a centre-back, where he plays his club football for Tottenham, Vertonghen is an accomplished defender who plays at left-back for his country. The 28-year-old had an indifferent season with Spurs and, like Alderweireld, seemed unconvincing when confronted by France's wingers. Former Tottenham team-mate Gareth Bale may well be eagerly anticipating their duel.

Central midfielder: Radja Nainggolan (8)

A combative presence at the base of Belgium's midfield, the Roma man looks to disrupt opposition moves and launch counter-attacks with his sharp passing. As he showed with his goal against France, Nainggolan is also a threat when shooting from long range.

Manchester United forward Marouane Fellaini provides a physical challenge to Belgium's opponents
Manchester United forward Marouane Fellaini provides a physical challenge to Belgium's opponents

Central midfielder: Marouane Fellaini (8)

As he does for Manchester United, the imposing Fellaini brings a physical edge to the Belgian midfield - as Wales' Joe Allen will know after a bruising encounter with the shaggy-haired midfielder in Brussels last year. Fellaini's two goals in Paris demonstrated his useful knack of finding space in the penalty area, as well as his accomplished finishing.

Central midfielder: Axel Witsel (7)

Rangy and dynamic, Witsel covers a lot of ground as a box-to-box midfielder. Another who plays his club football for Zenit Saint Petersburg, Witsel is the important link man between holding midfielder Nainggolan and the more advanced Fellaini.

Right winger: Dries Mertens (7)

Quick and skilful, the diminutive Napoli winger tends to be used as an impact substitute but started against France as Kevin de Bruyne was not fully fit. Mertens has a fine goal-scoring record at club level and, if De Bruyne is not back to face Wales, Chris Coleman's side should be wary of Mertens' threat as he wanders infield from the right wing.

Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard is the creative hub for Belgium and a potent goal-scorer
Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard is the creative hub for Belgium and a potent goal-scorer

Left winger: Eden Hazard (9)

The current PFA Players' Player of the Year and Football Writers' Player of the Year is another Belgian in sparkling form. The Chelsea playmaker is the creative hub of this Belgian side, cutting inside from the left wing, running at opponents and often supplying the killer pass or shot at goal. He was his usual influential self in Paris, scoring a penalty and carving open a number of chances for his team-mates.

Centre-forward: Christian Benteke (6)

As well as the dazzling skills of Hazard, De Bruyne and Mertens, one of Belgium's biggest strengths is their physical prowess. With Fellaini and Witsel in midfield, striker Benteke is another who towers over opponents. Although he is prone to missing some opportunities - as he did with one free header against France - the Aston Villa man is a menace in the air and can be a lethal finisher when on form.

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