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History: WALES V BELGIUM
After two friendlies after the war including a 5-1 win at Ninian Park when Trevor Ford netted a hat-trick, Wales and Belgium had to wait until 1990 before meeting for the first time competitively.
In the European Championship, the teams clashed in Cardiff in 1990 and goals from Ian Rush, Dean Saunders and Mark Hughes earned the Principality an impressive 3-1 win. In the return a year later in Anderlecht, Dean Saunders replied to Marc Degryse’s earlier goal to force a 1-1 draw.
The teams clashed again in the first of four World Cup qualifiers, a year later, and Wales suffered a 2-0 defeat in the Vanden Stock Stadium.
In the return, Wales won 2-0 which was memorable both for Ryan Giggs’ first international goal and the 24th of Ian Rush’s career, a strike that set a national record. It also kept Terry Yorath’s team on course for the USA but that dream expired against Romania.
Fast forward four years to 1997 and another World Cup qualifier at Ninian Park where Gary Speed scored but Wales lost 2-1.
And in the return, in Brussels, Belgium streaked into a 3-0 first half lead with goals from Lorenzo Staelens (penalty), Gert Claessens and Marc Wilmots. Wales staged a comeback but goals from Mark Pembridge and Giggs were not enough.
It was to be another 15 years before the teams would meet again, in this current qualifying programme in Cardiff.
Goals late in each half consigned 10-man Wales to defeat in their opening 2014 World Cup qualifier in Cardiff.
Wales defender James Collins was sent off after 26 minutes for a lunge on Guillaume Gillet, and Belgium enjoyed almost total dominance thereafter.
Vincent Kompany's header from a Dries Mertens corner gave the Group A favourites a deserved lead.
Gareth Bale was denied an equaliser by a superb save but Jan Vertonghen's late free-kick wrapped up victory.
In October 2013, Wales got a creditable draw in Brussels when captain Aaron Ramsey struck a late equaliser to council out Kevin de Bruyne’s goal for the hosts. And the Welsh returned last November to claim another draw with a goalless draw, leaving them in a strong position going into the return.