Euro 2016: Belgium can cope without Fellaini - Wales' Williams

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Wales Sport
Marouane Fellaini and Ashley Williams both played in the 0-0 draw between Belgium and Wales in Euro 2016 qualifying in November.
Marouane Fellaini and Ashley Williams played in the 0-0 draw between Belgium and Wales in Euro 2016 qualifying in November.
Euro 2016 qualifier: Wales v Belgium
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium Date: Friday, 12 June Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru and the BBC Sport website

Wales captain Ashley Williams does not believe Belgium will miss midfielder Marouane Fellaini in Friday's crucial Euro 2016 qualifier.

Manchester United's Fellaini, who scored twice in Belgium's win against France on Sunday, has been ruled out of the Wales clash with a groin injury.

But Williams thinks Marc Wilmots' side have the strength in depth to cope.

"They're going to replace him with another quality player anyway," he said.

"The personnel doesn't really matter too much. They've got strength throughout."

Belgium are top of qualifying Group B on 11 points, ahead of second-placed Wales on goal difference.

While Wales opted against playing a friendly as preparation for Friday's fixture in Cardiff, Belgium warmed up with a commanding 4-3 victory away to France in which they led 4-1 until the last couple of minutes.

Fellaini's two goals capped an excellent individual performance, in which his height and strength wreaked havoc in the French defence.

Euro 2016 Qualifying Group B

With imposing figures such as Zenit St-Petersburg midfielder Axel Witsel and Aston Villa and Everton strikers Christian Benteke and Romelu Lukaku in the Belgium squad, Wales skipper Williams expects an aerial onslaught.

"We're aware of the threat they pose," he said.

"I've played against Benteke and Lukaku on a number of occasions. It's going to be a difficult game, it's going to be a physical one.

"They have different threats. They can be physical, they've got a lot of pace throughout the side."

Having faced Villa's Benteke in the Premier League, Swansea City captain Williams is looking forward to renewing that rivalry on the international stage.

And even with the likes of Chelsea's Eden Hazard to contend with as well, Williams says Wales are confident of holding their own against the team ranked second in the world.

"I enjoy a physical challenge. He's [Benteke] obviously a very good player, we all know that here," he said.

"I think he's had a good season for Villa. Whenever you come up against a top player - and I consider him a top player - it's nice as a defender to challenge yourself.

"We consider ourselves a match for anyone these days."