Euro 2016 betting: Value with Wales in QF battle against Belgium

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Updated: July 1, 2016

Today’s featured Euro 2016 quarter-final betting preview: Wales v Belgium; Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille Métropole, France; Saturday, July 2, 5am

 

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Portugal are the first nation through to the Euro 2016 semi-finals with the next spot to be decided in tonight’s battle of Wales and Belgium in Lille. A first semi-final appearance at a major tournament awaits Wales as they prepare for a clash with Belgium, the highest-ranked European side. Marc Wilmots’ side trail only Argentina in the FIFA World Rankings and have responded well to the 2-0 defeat against Italy that started their Euro 2016 challenge. Eight goals without reply in the past three games will give the Belgians plenty of confidence ahead of this quarter-final.

But Wales took four points off Belgium in qualification and are already making history at their maiden European Championship. Belgium captain Eden Hazard is fit to play after a thigh injury but Thomas Vermaelen is suspended and fellow defender Jan Vertonghen twisted his knee in training and is out. The Belgians last reached the semi-finals of a major tournament at the 1986 World Cup, where they eventually finished fourth. Kevin de Bruyne has been directly involved in 12 goals in his last 12 games with Belgium (five goals, seven assists). They have not conceded in their last three games – their longest run of clean sheets at a major tournament.

 

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The Welsh squad evidently take great satisfaction at being the last home nation standing at Euro 2016 but they now have bigger fish to fry. Wales have a clear template for how to beat Belgium, having kept clean sheets in both meetings during Euro 2016 qualifying. Their game-plan then was to sit deep, stifle and occasionally pounce on the counter-attack – a ploy that enabled the Welsh to earn a goalless draw in Brussels in November 2014 and a 1-0 victory in the return fixture last summer. Captain Ashley Williams (pictured above) suffered a shoulder injury against Northern Ireland on Saturday.

He had his arm in a sling during the post-match celebrations. However, Williams paid tribute to the Welsh medical staff after declaring himself fit to face the Belgians. Ben Davies, Aaron Ramsey, Neil Taylor and Sam Vokes are all one booking away from suspension after picking up yellow cards earlier in the tournament. The Welsh have never reached the semi-finals of a major tournament. This is their best finals performance since reaching the quarter-finals at the 1958 World Cup, when they lost 1-0 to Brazil. Wales have trailed for only two minutes and 31 seconds (including injury time) in their four games at Euro 2016.

 

 

Confirmed betting (card finalised)

Wales +1hcp v Belgium (one unit @ $2.00) – with respect to the Belgians’ position in the world rankings, Wales proved twice in qualifying that they have a plan to quell the attacking prowess of the Red Devils. Belgium look vastly unders at $1.83 so the handicap price holds appeal.

 

Most recent results: 1-1, +1.25 units; overall finals record: 19-12, +21.07 units; qualifying record: 34-10-26, +13.40 units

Italy v Spain WIN (one unit @ $2.20) LOSE (2-0)
England v Iceland +1 (one unit @ $2.50) WIN (1-2)

• Selections are listed in three categories – 1) Suggested (likely bet but yet to be finalised); 2) Confirmed (locked in at the price listed); and 3) Leans (tips, but not recommended bets); all times quoted are Australian Eastern Time (AET); prices with thanks to Bet365 (except where markets are not available), correct at time of publication. Results/comments on today’s games/races will follow in the next post.

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