Belgium Football team

Aaron Ramsey scores for WalesWales are on the brink of their most eagerly anticipated game for years as they prepare to welcome the world’s number two side Belgium at Cardiff City Stadium on Friday night.

There is a new buzz surrounding Gareth Bale and his team-mates, with a nation expectant of another result which can set Chris Coleman’s side firmly on the path to next summer’s Euro 2016 finals in France.

A sell-out crowd will be at the game, full of hope, optimism and ready to roar on the Dragons.

But the fact is Wales that are underdogs. Even on their own patch, it is the Belgians, including Eden Hazard and Marouane Fellaini, who are part of a team ranked second in the world and who are being backed by the bookies to slow the Welsh qualifying charge.

So often down the years Wales have slipped up on the big occasion. But can they buck the trend and do is this time around?

Football Correspondent CHRIS WATHAN reckons there is plenty of reason for hope and picks out ten reasons why the whole of Wales can be celebrating a win on Friday night.

1 – THEY’VE DONE WELL AWAY TO THE BELGIANS ALREADY

Belgium had already qualified when Wales went to Brussels at the end of the last World Cup qualifying campaign and there was perhaps a greater concern about celebrating than containing Wales’ threat, even without Gareth Bale.

But when Aaron Ramsey grabbed an equaliser near the end, it represented a big psychological step forward for this Wales team. They proved to themselves they could compete against the best.

That was underlined further when they returned to Brussels in this Euro campaign and secured a 0-0 draw.

That was only two matches ago and emphasised the ‘no fear’ approach among the Wales players is genuine, regardless of the Belgian star names put in front of them.

Having done well twice on their travels, this time around they will believe home advantage can count.

Aaron Ramsey scores for Wales

2 – VINCENT KOMPANY IS MISSING

One player doesn’t make a team, not with the strength in depth Belgium have got. Plus, there are those who will claim Vincent Kompany’s inconsistent form for Manchester City might be of Belgian benefit.

Yet Kompany is a class act and is a leader that will be missed in the same way Wales would note the impact of losing Ashley Williams.

His suspension for a red card in their win against Israel a few days after Wales triumphed in Haifa means Jan Vertonghen will be asked to lead the defence next to Zenit St Petersburg’s Nicolas Lombaerts with Southampton’s Toby Alderweireld at right back and once-capped Manchester City teenager Jason Denayer at left-back.

Wales celebrate a famous victory

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