In sharp contrast, Wales make the trip to Brussels aware that only maximum points will do if they want to set up a grandstand finish with Poland when it comes to avoiding relegation to League B
During a period where they have earned a return to the World Cup Finals and spent time competing in the top tier of the Nations League, it is fair to say that Wales have achieved new heights under Robert Page.
However, the Dragons have also encountered a considerable step up in opposition, resulting in just two wins coming from their last eight outings in all competitions.
Most importantly, those successes were against Austria and Ukraine in the World Cup playoffs, but Page and his squad have accumulated just one point from a possible 12 in fixtures against Poland, Netherlands and Belgium in this competition.
That return could have been higher with last-gasp goals being conceded in each of the defeats to group leaders Netherlands, although Wales required an 86th-minute equaliser from Brennan Johnson to earn a share of the spoils in the reverse fixture against Thursday’s opponents.
These nations have squared off on six occasions since November 2014, Belgium’s solitary win during that period coming in a World Cup qualifying fixture in March 2021.
The last two meetings, both held in Cardiff, ended in 1-1 draws, but Belgium are motivated to push hard for all three points given that they remain adrift of Netherlands.
A 4-1 defeat at home to their rivals on matchday one ensured that Roberto Martinez’s side have had to play catch-up throughout this group, and they will be relatively satisfied that their fate remains in their own hands given the manner of that result.
Although the reverse fixture with Oranje is to come next week, Belgium can ill-afford to lose focus with failure to collect maximum points against Wales giving Netherlands an opportunity to secure their progress to the Finals with one match to spare.
Last time out, an early Michy Batshuayi goal proved to be the difference against Poland, and responsibility will again fall on the Fenerbahce forward with Romelu Lukaku sidelined through injury.
Belgium Nations League form:
Belgium form (all competitions):
Wales Nations League form:
Wales form (all competitions):
We say: Belgium 2-0 Wales
With these two teams extremely familiar with each other, we anticipate this fixture remaining competitive throughout the 90 minutes. Nevertheless, we cannot back against Belgium on familiar territory, Martinez’s men potentially making sure of the three points during the closing stages.