European Championship Qualifying
BelgiumBelgium0WalesWales0

Belgium 0-0 Wales

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Wales Sport
Gareth Bale

Wales dug in for a gutsy goalless draw in Belgium to maintain their unbeaten start to their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

Belgium bossed the first half as Nacer Chadli was denied by Wayne Hennessey and Nicolas Lombaerts hit a post.

But Wales defended stoically and had chances of their own after the interval as Gareth Bale shot narrowly wide.

The point briefly kept Wales top of Group B, before Israel took their place with a 3-0 win over Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Gareth Bale 'massively proud' of Wales

Having made their best start to a campaign since winning their first four qualifiers for Euro 2004, Wales entered this match with renewed hope.

Despite the raised expectations, however, Chris Coleman's men were undoubtedly the underdogs against a Belgian side fourth in the Fifa world rankings.

Welsh hopes rested on Bale, and it was no surprise that it was the world's most expensive player who had the visitors' first shot on target.

The Real Madrid forward unleashed a swerving free-kick from 25 yards, but it was palmed away by Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

The Chelsea man's opposite number, Wayne Hennessey, was also called into action early on and made an excellent low save to deny Tottenham's Nacer Chadli.

With another Chelsea player, Eden Hazard, a constant threat as he drifted infield from the left, Belgium began to dictate and put their opponents under pressure.

Wales' remaining Euro 2016 qualifiers
28 Mar 2015: Israel (a)6 Sep 2015: Israel (h)
12 Jun 2015: Belgium (h)10 Oct 2015: Bosnia-Hercegovina (a)
3 Sep 2015: Cyprus (a)13 Oct 2015: Andorra (h)

From Kevin de Bruyne's in-swinging corner, defender Lombaerts struck a post with a powerful shot and, from the rebound, Divock Origi could only slide the ball wide.

For all of Belgium's Hazard-inspired domination, Wales held firm to keep the home side at bay in the first half.

Coleman's side were close to taking the lead against the run of play 12 minutes after the restart, as Bale skipped past Belgium's static defenders before flashing a shot narrowly wide of the far post.

Having brought Fulham's fast young winger George Williams on for David Cotterill at half-time, Wales posed more of a counter-attacking threat as the match wore on.

Although Belgium continued to control possession for long periods, they seemed wary of the visitors' threat and were careful not to commit too many players forward.

The Red Devils' apparent trepidation made for a tense atmosphere, and the sense of anxiety increased when Hal Robson-Kanu had a shot saved by Courtois.

Dries Mertens then required lengthy treatment after being knocked out following a collision with teenager Williams and the six minutes of injury time that followed were nervous for the Welsh.

A header by Aston Villa's Christian Benteke was cleared off the line as Belgium poured forward in the closing moments, but Wales remained resolute to claim a potentially priceless point.

Gareth Bale and Thibaut Courtous
Gareth Bale was denied on two occasions by Thibaut Courtous
Dries Mertens
Dries Mertens was taken off on a stretcher after a clash of heads with George Williams
Christian Benteke
Christian Benteke almost scored a last-minute winner for Belgium

Line-ups

Belgium

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Courtois
  • 21Vanden Borre
  • 2Alderweireld
  • 3Lombaerts
  • 5Vertonghen
  • 8Fellaini
  • 6Witsel
  • 7De Bruyne
  • 22ChadliSubstituted forBentekeat 62'minutes
  • 17OrigiSubstituted forMertensat 73'minutesSubstituted forJanuzajat 89'minutes
  • 10E Hazard

Substitutes

  • 4Nainggolan
  • 9Benteke
  • 11Lukaku
  • 12Mignolet
  • 13Gillet
  • 14Mertens
  • 15Meunier
  • 16De Bock
  • 18Denayer
  • 19Dembélé
  • 20Januzaj
  • 23Ciman

Wales

Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1HennesseyBooked at 90mins
  • 2Gunter
  • 4Chester
  • 6Williams
  • 3Taylor
  • 8CotterillSubstituted forWilliamsat 45'minutesBooked at 85mins
  • 7AllenBooked at 73mins
  • 16LedleyBooked at 33mins
  • 9Robson-KanuSubstituted forHuwsat 90+5'minutes
  • 10Ramsey
  • 11Bale

Substitutes

  • 5Davies
  • 12Williams
  • 13Dummett
  • 14Gabbidon
  • 15Huws
  • 17Lawrence
  • 18Ricketts
  • 19Matthews
  • 20Taylor
  • 21Ward
  • 22Collins
  • 23Williams
Referee:
Pavel Kralovec

Match Stats

Home TeamBelgiumAway TeamWales
Possession
Home61%
Away39%
Shots
Home15
Away7
Shots on Target
Home5
Away4
Corners
Home8
Away3
Fouls
Home9
Away10

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Belgium 0, Wales 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Belgium 0, Wales 0.

  3. Post update

    Attempt saved. Christian Benteke (Belgium) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Nicolas Lombaerts.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Belgium. Conceded by Neil Taylor.

  5. Substitution

    Substitution, Wales. Emyr Huws replaces Hal Robson-Kanu.

  6. Post update

    Attempt missed. Gareth Bale (Wales) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Aaron Ramsey.

  7. Booking

    Wayne Hennessey (Wales) is shown the yellow card.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Eden Hazard (Belgium).

  9. Post update

    Gareth Bale (Wales) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Belgium. Adnan Januzaj replaces Dries Mertens because of an injury.

  12. Post update

    Delay in match Dries Mertens (Belgium) because of an injury.

  13. Post update

    Delay in match George Williams (Wales) because of an injury.

  14. Booking

    George Williams (Wales) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  15. Post update

    Dries Mertens (Belgium) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Foul by George Williams (Wales).

  17. Post update

    Corner, Wales. Conceded by Jan Vertonghen.

  18. Post update

    Attempt saved. Hal Robson-Kanu (Wales) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  19. Post update

    Offside, Belgium. Dries Mertens tries a through ball, but Christian Benteke is caught offside.

  20. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Christian Benteke (Belgium) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jan Vertonghen with a cross.