Wales’ Williams fit to face Belgium | Pakistan Today

Wales’ Williams fit to face Belgium

Wales captain Ashley Williams – a doubt with a shoulder injury – is fit to play against Belgium in Friday’s Euro 2016 quarter-final against Belgium.

The central defender suffered the injury against Northern Ireland on Saturday and had his arm in a sling during the post-match celebrations

Belgium will monitor forward Eden Hazard, who returned to training on Thursday after a thigh injury.

But they are without defender Thomas Vermaelen, who serves a one-game ban.

And there are reports that another defender – Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen – twisted his knee in training and will also miss the match in Lille.

Vertonghen had been playing at left-back at Euro 2016 but it was thought he would move alongside Toby Alderweireld in the centre of defence to replace Vermaelen.

Meanwhile, Williams paid tribute to the Welsh medical staff after declaring himself fit to face the Belgians.

“Obviously it was hurting a lot at the end of the game, but a lot of credit goes to the medical staff,” he said.

“They’ve done a great job on me and I’ve trained in all the sessions this week. It’s in good shape and I’m sure it’ll be fine.”

Manager Chris Coleman added: “I’m just relieved. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but you need leaders in your side.

“We’ve got a really good dressing room, a good blend, and Ash is the captain. When you have a strong dressing room you need a strong character to lead it, and Ash is that.”

Wales quartet 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 squad evidently take great satisfaction at being the last home nation standing at Euro 2016 – but victory against Belgium on Friday would be a result no-one could begrudge them celebrating.

Marc Wilmots’ star-studded squad are ranked second in the world and have shown ominous signs of finding their best form in the last fortnight. After the disappointment of defeat by Italy in their opening match, the Belgians have recovered impressively, winning their subsequent three games and scoring eight unanswered goals.

However, 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 which enabled the Welsh to earn a goalless draw in Brussels in November 2014 and a 1-0 victory in the return fixture last summer.


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