On Friday, in front of a jam-packed Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille, Wales put in one of the performances of the tournaments to stun an injury-hit Belgium side. Ashley Williams, Hal-Robson Kanu and Sam Vokes scored for the Dragons, while Radja Nainggolan’s screamer did very little to affect the scoreline.
Going into this game as the clear underdogs, Chris Coleman set up his Welsh side in a way that Belgium – given all their star power – failed to break through. However, it was the Red Devils that took the lead, through a dream of an effort by Radja Nainggolan, but within a matter of minutes, Wales captain Ashley Williams netted at the other end.
Into the second half, Belgium had more efforts on goals, but the Dragons saw off the danger and hit their opponents on the break. First, it was Arsenal’s academy product Hal-Robson Kanu who scored in typical Johaan Cryuff-esque fashion, before Sam Vokes hit the final nail into the Belgian coffin.
Here’s how the players fared on the day:
Wayne Hennessey: 7
Put in a spirited performance in the Welsh goal, and apart from Nainggolan’s long-range effort, kept out everything that came his way.
James Chester: 6.5
It was another fine performance by the Wales defender, who was constantly on the back of Belgian winger Eden Hazard.
Ashley Williams: 9
Played a captain’s knock and led from the front. Was a threat in both boxes with his aerial superiority and had a goal to show for. Star performer.
Ben Davies: 7
Held his nerve despite an early booking. Formed a solid left-sided centre back for Chris Coleman
Joe Ledley: 7.5
Executed his holding midfield position to near perfection and probably had the best game of this tournament.
Joe Allen: 6
As compared to the other four matches, it was a bit of an off day for the Liverpool midfielder. It was his misplaced pass that led to Belgium’s goal.
Aaron Ramsey: 9
His good tournament just kept getting better, and his displays against Belgium showed us exactly why he has been regarded as one of the best midfielders at Euro 2016. He assisted two of his side’s three goals.
Neil Taylor: 7
Was good as a left wing-back and almost found the back of the net in the first half.
Chris Gunter: 7.5
Offered a lot of support going forward, and played the cross which saw Vokes score Wales’ third.
Hal-Robson Kanu: 8
Scored a wonderful goal, and apart from that provided a lot of threat in the penalty area.
Gareth Bale: 7.5
No goals or assists to show for, but the Real Madrid attacker put in a solid performance on the defensive end as well as in the final third.
Thibaut Courtois: 5
Let three shots past him. Not the best of nights for Belgium’s number one.
Thomas Meunier: 6
Was solid going forward, but looked frail when he had to defend.
Thomas Alderweireld: 6
The experienced figure in a relatively new back line, the Spurs defender could do little to influence the game.
Jason Denayer: 4
Not the best of European debuts for the Belgian as he had a night to forget.
Jordan Lukaku: 4
The other tournament debutant failed to live up to his billing and was caught off the pace by the Welsh wing-backs.
Radja Ninggolan: 7
His stunning strike was one of the few positives for Belgium in the match.
Axel Witsel: 5.5
Failed to provide any solid defensive cover.
Yannick Carrasco: 6
Was given the start after a spirited performance off the bench against Hungary, but failed to provide anything concrete.
Kevin de Bruyne: 6.5
Had an impressive tournament but a mundane game as his balls rarely found a target inside the 18-yard-area.
Eden Hazard: 7
Provided an assist for the goal, but apart from the that was quiet the entire game.
Romelu Lukaku: 5
Was miles away from his best and failed to get on the end of a number of crosses played into the area.
Leave a Reply