Wales earn home World Cup play-off


Wales secured a home semi-final within the World Cup qualifying play-offs as Kieffer Moore’s equaliser earned a powerful 1-1 draw in opposition to Belgium on Tuesday.

Rob Page’s aspect was already assured a World Cup play-off spot in March by way of their Nations League outcomes.

But ending second in Group E would guarantee they averted a frightening journey to the likes of Italy and Portugal within the play-off semi-finals.

When Kevin De Bruyne put Belgium forward within the first half, that ambition was beneath menace.

But Cardiff striker Moore equalised at his Championship membership’s stadium within the Welsh capital to ensure the precious playoff seeding after Turkey didn’t safe the four-goal victory they wanted in opposition to Montenegro.

“I couldn’t be prouder. I was very emotional at the end. That group of men out there, to put that performance in after a big game on Saturday, it was outstanding,” Page mentioned.

“I’m not surprised at how positive our reaction was to their goal. We’ve done it before. We know how to dig deep.”

With a home one-legged semi-final secured, Wales will go into the draw later in November feeling extra assured about their bid to qualify for the World Cup.

Wales will host certainly one of Austria, North Macedonia, Poland, Ukraine, Turkey, or the Czech Republic within the semis.

They are actually simply two wins away from reaching the World Cup for under the second time and the primary since 1958.

“When the crowd is behind us like it was tonight, we’ll take on anyone. We’re not done yet, we’re dreaming of a World Cup. It’s definitely achievable,” Page mentioned.

Belgium, high of FIFA‘s world rankings, had clinched World Cup qualification with a 3-1 win in opposition to Estonia on Saturday.

Although the Red Devils had nothing to play for after incomes the highest spot in Group E, they did not roll over and are actually unbeaten in 28 main event qualifiers beneath boss Roberto Martinez.

After two months out with a hamstring harm, Wales captain Gareth Bale had returned to motion to win his 100th cap within the 5-1 rout of Belarus on Saturday.

But the Real Madrid ahead got here off at half-time in that sport and was omitted from the matchday squad to face Belgium.

It was Moore who changed Bale in an impressed move by Page.

Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois and Youri Tielemans have been all absent for injury-hit Belgium as Martinez made six adjustments.

Even so, Belgium was shortly into their stride and De Bruyne put them forward within the 12th minute.

Axel Witsel’s blocked shot rebounded to the Manchester City midfielder and he caressed a advantageous strike into the underside nook from 20 yards.

De Bruyne has been beneath his finest at occasions this season, so the objective was a great addition as he prepares to return to membership responsibility in a busy interval for the Premier League champions.

Belgium monopolised possession for lengthy intervals within the first half, however Wales snatched an equaliser within the 32nd minute.

Daniel James’ cross drew a panicked response from the Belgian defence, with Arthur Theate fully lacking his tried clearance because the ball ran for Moore to fireside home from close-range.

Joe Morrell’s foul on Witsel drew a reserving that rules him out of the semi-finals.

Thorgan Hazard was inches away from restoring Belgium’s lead with an excellent volley that cannoned off the publish from De Bruyne’s free-kick.

Bravely urgent excessive up the pitch, Page’s gritty staff tenaciously held on and almost received it within the remaining moments when Neco Williams’ roller was tipped away by Koen Casteels.

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