Thursday, January 19, 2017

Wales v Belgium: Hennessey calls for positive Welsh showing

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 10 Jun 2015

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Wayne Hennessey says his Wales team-mates are relishing the prospect of facing a Belgium team currently ranked second in the world on Friday.

The two sides are level on 11 points at the top of Group B – Belgium leading the pool on goal difference – with victory for either likely to go a long way to ensuring a place at Euro 2016 in France.

Marc Wilmots’ side have not lost since their World Cup elimination at the hands of Argentina and maintained the form that has seen them climb the FIFA rankings with Sunday’s 4-3 friendly victory over France.

Wales also boast an unbeaten record in qualifying and, ahead of Friday’s crunch clash, goalkeeper Hennessey hopes facing the likes of Eden Hazard, Dries Mertens and Thibaut Courtois can bring the best out of his team-mates.

“Belgium are coming to us, but we will be taking our game to them,” he told a news conference this week.

“We all know what Belgium are about as they’re a great team. However, we’ve also got some fantastic ability and the boys are buzzing, hopefully this is our time.

“It’s going to be a fantastic game for everyone out there. Belgium are one of the best teams in the world.

“We don’t look at others as favourites, we only look at ourselves and the challenges that we have and must overcome.”

Wales star Gareth Bale is set to win his 50th cap in Friday’s fixture, while Wilmots will be without midfielder Marouane Fellaini due to a groin injury.

The Manchester United man scored twice in the victory over France but broke down in training this week to present Wilmots with a selection headache.

Wilmots – linked with the managerial vacancy at Schalke of late – says his side need to forget their win over France and focus on moving a step closer to the Euros.

“France is forgotten. Wales is far more important, for adding points and qualifying,” he is quoted as saying by Sporza.

“We still have, after Friday, trips to face, on paper, weaker opponents [Cyprus and Andorra] in our group.

“And then come home matches against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Israel. If you can not qualify in this group, then you do not deserve to go to the European Championship.”

The sides’ reverse fixture ended goalless in Brussels, with third-place Israel able to take advantage of any slip-ups from the top two when they face Bosnia-Herzegovina on Friday.

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