Wales v Belgium
Saturday July 2, 5:00am
In their first major tournament finals since the 1958 World Cup, Wales are through to the quarters thanks to a 1-0 win over Northern Ireland in a very tight affair that was settled by an own goal in the 75th minute.
Belgium, meanwhile, put in arguably the most dominant display of the tournament so far in winning 4-0 against Hungary as they’ve certainly bounced back strongly after defeat in their opener against Italy, winning all three games without conceding.
That, together with their favourable draw means they’ve shortened up into third favourites to win the tournament, behind the hosts and World Champions Germany.
Wales have won three of their four games at these finals and have managed to score in each, thanks largely to the form of Gareth Bale, who features prominently in the betting for player of the tournament.
Their record when playing sides ranked between 8th and 18th in the world is W1-D2-L8 since 2010, though the instances that they avoided defeat came in the last four of these matches and interestingly all three of these were against Belgium themselves, in qualification for this tournament and at the last World Cup.
The defeat against Italy stretched Belgium’s run of games without a clean sheet to eight, but they’ve managed to shut out the Republic of Ireland, Sweden and Hungary since then.
The fact that Eden Hazard has taken the form he showed for Chelsea at the very end of the Premier League season into the tournament is a massive boost for the Belgians and like Gareth Bale, he is now a strong contender for player of the tournament.
Belgium have won all seven of their games against sides they’re ranked between 20 and 40 places higher than since 2013, leading at the break in four of these matches and keeping a clean sheet in four of the last five wins.
Sides with a grade advantage of more than 20 have a W10-D3-L0 record in World Cup and Euros knockout ties since 2006 and teams outside the world’s top-20 have a W1-D2-L5 record in Euro quarter-finals since 1996.
With that in mind, Belgium look a fair price here at 1.76 to get the job done in 90 minutes and since higher ranked side have kept 12 clean sheets in the 20 Euro quarter-finals since 1996, it’s worth backing Marc Wilmot’s side to continue their run of winning without conceding at 2.6.
BACK – Belgium to Win at 1.76