Belgium drifting towards even money for Euro 2016 clash with Wales, with Jan Vertonghen missing in action
One team is packed with formidable attacking players that have managed eight goals already in this tournament. The other is Wales. However, the bookies are prepared to take on Belgium for tonight’s last eight clash.
The Belgians did open at 3/4 to beat a Welsh team who struggled to overcome Northern Ireland in the last round, although bet365 now go 17/20 about the Red Devils and we might see something like 10/11 before kick-off.
While the bookmakers will still take plenty of cash on the favourites to go through and face Portugal in the next round, the traders are clearly confident of getting them beat considering they have defensive issues.
Jan Vertonghen has been ruled out of the tournament with injury, with Thomas Vermaelen suspended for the clash. This means that Belgium are “down to the bare bones” defensively, although they still have plenty of attacking riches at their disposal.
Indeed, the way in which they swept aside Hungary and Republic of Ireland suggests that Wales will need to be on their guards, even if the latter did claim four points against Belgium in qualifying.
That will certainly feature in Chris Coleman’s team talk, although the manner of the 1-0 victory was mainly down to stout defending, a large slice of luck and Gareth Bale doing what he does best.
Wales are 17/4 with bet365 to win the clash although the bookies will consider that the draw could be a big runner, especially if Joe Allen and Joe Ledley manage to shackle the tricky Eden Hazard.
Ashley Williams will be given the job of taming Romelu Lukaku or any other striker pitched into battle by Marc Wilmots and it must be reiterated that the Belgians don’t possess the major tournament pedigree of a Spain, Germany or Italy.
Even so, this side is full of goals thanks to Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and the underrated Dries Mertens, with many hoping to see Belgium drift out towards even money before piling on.