Football betting: Chris Coleman’s Wales to bow out against Belgium but back Gareth Bale

 
Ben Cleminson
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Gareth Bale scored the winner when these teams met in qualifying 12 months ago (Source: Getty)

Wales readies itself for the biggest match in the country’s recent footballing history on Friday, when the Dragons will face Belgium in the Euro 2016 quarter-final.

Chris Coleman’s men have surpassed what even the most optimistic Wales fan would have thought possible, topping a group containing England and beating Northern Ireland to be within a game of the semi-finals.

That match comes against a team they took four points off in qualifying.

Wales frustrated their more illustrious opponents with a 0-0 draw in Brussels in November 2014, before a famous 1-0 victory in Cardiff 12 months ago all but sealed qualification for France.

A similar result tonight would turn Coleman and his squad into Welsh sporting immortals.

The goalscorer in that game was Gareth Bale, and all eyes will once again be on the Real Madrid man to lead his country to glory.

He scored seven out of 11 Welsh goals in qualifying, and has netted three out of seven in the tournament itself to lead the way in the Golden Boot.

If he can get enough of the ball, his impact could be the difference.

That’s easier said than done, however, against a Belgium side who have grown in confidence as the tournament has gone on.

After a disappointing 2-0 to defeat to Italy in the first game, the Belgians haven’t conceded another goal in the three matches since, and their 4-0 dismantling of Hungary in the last round was arguably the performance of the Euros so far.

Eden Hazard was in sparkling form, and his individual goal will feature in highlights videos for years to come.

Alongside Kevin De Bruyne, Belgian boss Marc Wilmots appears to have married defensive solidity with outstanding attacking flair.

While this tournament of fairytales suggests another shock could be in the offing, I can’t side against a team of that quality.

I think Belgium will progress.

At this stage of the tournament, tense, cagey games could be the order of the day.

At Euro 2016 so far 21 out of 44 matches have been level at half-time, with teams not willing to take many risks.

I like the look of draw half-time, Belgium full-time at 100/30 with Betway.

At the same time, I think there’ll be at least one moment of magic for Bale.

Against England he was shackled for much of the game, but still had the quality to pop-up with a long-range free-kick to open the scoring.

Though he’ll face a tough time against a mean Belgian defence, I think he can add his fourth goal of the tournament.

I’ll be backing Bale at 2/1 to score anytime with Betway.

Pointers

Draw HT / Belgium FT 100/30 (Betway)

Bale to score anytime 2/1 (Betway)

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