Team news ahead of the World Cup qualifier between Wales vs Belgium on Tuesday; kick-off 7.45pm.
Gareth Bale will not start Wales’ decisive World Cup qualifier against Belgium on Tuesday.
Bale won his 100th cap against Belarus on Saturday after two months out with a hamstring injury, but came off after 45 minutes of the 5-1 victory. The Wales captain trained on his own away from the main group on Monday.
Wales manager Robert Page said: “He was never going to start against Belgium. We knew that coming into camp. The plan was always for him to get a half in the first game and then come on and maybe have an impact in the second game.”
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Wales are without the banned Ethan Amapdu but welcome back Kieffer Moore, who missed the Belarus win through suspension. Cardiff striker Moore has scored seven goals since making his debut in September 2019, more than any other Wales player in that time.
Wales are guaranteed a World Cup play-off spot in March through their Nations League results. But Page’s side need at least a point against the world’s top-ranked team in Cardiff to potentially secure home semi-final advantage.
Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski has been called into the Belgium national team squad. He will be looking to feature for his country for the first time on Tuesday, with Roberto Martinez’s side having already qualified for Qatar.
Belgium will be without Real Madrid pair Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois in Cardiff, as well as Jason Denayer and Simon Mignolet.
Jeremy Doku, Michy Batshuayi, Romelu Lukaku, Toby Alderweireld, Thomas Vermaelen and Youri Tielemans had previously been ruled out.
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Highlights of the World Cup qualifying Group E match between Wales and Belarus
The winners of each group automatically qualify for the World Cup finals, which run from November 21 to December 18 2022, and three more teams will seal their place at the end of the playoffs in March.
The play-offs take place from March 24 to 29, with 10 group runners-up joined by the two best group winners from the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League overall ranking that have neither qualified directly as group winners nor entered the playoffs already as group runners up.
These 12 teams will be drawn into three play-off paths for one-off semi-finals and a final, with the three path winners then qualifying for the tournament in Qatar. The draw will be seeded based upon qualifying-round points – with the two UEFA Nations League teams being unseeded.
The order of preference for the two teams to enter the play-offs (if required) via the Nations League, of teams who are still able to use this route, is France, Wales, Austria and Czech Republic, meaning Robert Page’s side are already guaranteed a play-off berth via their Nations League rankings.
As Austria, and either Wales or Czech Republic, are guaranteed to finish outside the top two in their group, no other country is in contention for one of the two additional places.
How to follow
Tuesday 16th November 7:00pm
Kick off 7:45pm
Watch Wales vs Belgium on Sky Sports Football and Main Event from 7pm on Tuesday; kick-off 7.45pm; follow our live blog on Sky Sports website and app; free match highlights will be published shortly after full time.
- World Cup Qualifiers live on Sky | Fixtures | Tables
- Get Sky Sports | Get NOW to stream the big moments
- Wales have won two of their last three games against Belgium (L1), winning in June 2015 in a EUROs qualifier and at EURO 2016 in the quarter-final stage.
- Away from home, Belgium have lost four of their six matches against Wales – they won the other two, in March 1997 at the Arms Park in Cardiff and September 2012 at the Cardiff City Stadium.
- Wales have lost just two of their last 19 World Cup qualifying matches (W9 D8) and are unbeaten in their last six since losing to Belgium in March.
- Belgium have won 20 of their last 23 away matches in World Cup/EUROs qualifying (D2 L1) with their only defeat in that run coming against Wales in June 2015. They’ve scored 58 goals and kept 14 clean sheets in this run.
- A point for Wales will secure them a top-two spot in the group – it will be the first time they’ve finished in the top-two of a World Cup qualifying group since qualification for the 1966 World Cup, when they finished second, although only the first-place teams qualified that year.
- Belgium are unbeaten in their last 27 World Cup qualifiers (W23 D4), the second-longest current unbeaten run behind England (30). Their run began with a 2-0 away win in Wales back in September 2012.
- Aaron Ramsey has scored eight goals in his last 15 World Cup qualifying appearances for Wales, while his brace against Belarus made him only the sixth player to score 20 goals for Wales – the others are Gareth Bale (36), Ian Rush (28), Trevor Ford (23), Ivor Allchurch (23) and Dean Saunders (22).
- In just 17 starts in World Cup qualifiers, Kevin De Bruyne has scored five and assisted nine goals for Belgium – in only three appearances in World Cup 2022 qualification, De Bruyne has scored once and assisted twice, with only Eden Hazard (13) and Hans Vanaken (10) creating more chances than he has from his three games (9).