Wales 0 Belgium 2: Collins the villain again as Kompany and Vertonghen slay hosts

By Neil Moxley

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James Collins's first-half sending off undermined the best efforts of a weakened Wales side, yet he was absolved of any blame by manager Chris Coleman.

The West Ham defender was dismissed for a lunge on right-back Guillaume Gillet as Group A favourites Belgium ended a dispiriting week for Coleman on a sour note.

The centre half saw red after horribly mistiming a tackle near the halfway line after 25 minutes, leaving an already under-strength team at the mercy of their highly-rated opponents.

Thunderous: Vincent Kompany (left) powers his header home

Thunderous: Vincent Kompany (left) powers his header home

Take that: Jan Vertonghen smashes in the second goal

Take that: Jan Vertonghen smashes in the second goal

MATCH FACTS

Wales (4-1-4-1): Myhill 6; Matthews 7, Collins 4, Blake 7, Gunter 7; A Williams 7; Church 6 (Robson-Kanu, 71min, 6), Edwards 6 (King, 79), Ramsey 6, Bale 8; Morison 6 (Vokes 72, 6)

Booked: Williams, Vokes.

Sent off: Collins.

Belgium (4-1-4-1): Courtois; 6, G Gillet 6, Kompany 8, Vermaelen 7, Vertonghen 6; Witsel 6; Hazard 6, Fellaini 5, Dembele 6 (De Bruyne, 46, 6), Mertens 6; Mirallas 6 (Lukaku, 46, 6)

Scorers: Kompany 42, Vertonghen 83

Booked: G Gillet, Vertoghen.

Man of the match: Gareth Bale.

Referee: Stefan Johannesson (Swe) 6.

Attendance: 18,000.

It was the latest gaffe in a dreadful series of mistakes by Collins for his country. And he could have little complaint when Swedish referee Stefan Johannesson ordered him off.

But Coleman jumped to Collins’s defence. ‘I don’t think it was a red card,’ he said. ‘I’ve seen the incident half-a-dozen times and maybe I’m biased but I think the referee went on the reaction of the Belgium player on the floor. He got up and finished the 90 minutes.

‘We can’t let players just run past us. Sometimes as a defender you can’t help yourself. Even if it was late, it wasn’t malicious. Maybe I’m old school, but I’ve seen more dangerous tackles than that.’

Belgium coach Marc Wilmots  countered with ‘the referee had to give it’ and although the arguments raged afterwards, there was little doubt it made a difficult job all the harder for the hosts.

Coleman, already shorn of seven players who could reasonably have expected to start, had to re-shuffle his pack before kick-off when Joe Allen was struck down with a virus.

Wales, with Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey outstanding, made a decent fist of the game before Collins’s  dismissal, even with their scratch side.

Agony: Guillaume Gillet writhes after being slide tackled by James Collins, who is sent off (below)

Agony: Guillaume Gillet writhes after being slide tackled by James Collins, who is sent off (below)

Off: Collins is dismissed
Annoyed: Collins stomps off

But thereafter it was only likely to take one goal to swing the balance in Belgium’s favour. And the breakthrough came four minutes before the interval.

Dries Mertens’s corner on the right was met at the near post by Vincent Kompany and his header flashed past Boaz Myhill.

Well done: Belgium celebrate with scorer Kompany

Well done: Belgium celebrate with scorer Kompany

Rivals: Aaron Ramsey gets to grips with Mousa Dembele

Rivals: Aaron Ramsey gets to grips with Mousa Dembele

After the interval, Wales were reduced to raiding from deep using Bale’s energy. It took a fine stop from Thibaut Courtois to prevent the   Tottenham winger from finding the net with a 30-yard free-kick. But  that was as close as Wales came to drawing level.

The match finished as a contest seven minutes from time when Aaron Ramsey was adjudged to have tripped Romelu Lukaku.

Jan Vertonghen with Dries Mertens on his back
Gareth Bale and Mertens

Contrasting fortunes: Club-mates Jan Vertonghen and Gareth Bale

‘It wasn’t a free-kick,’ said a  frustrated Coleman, ‘Lukaku pulled back his leg to have a shot and caught Aaron.’

That did not seem to matter to Jan Vertonghen, who lashed a thunderous left-foot shot beyond Myhill from 25 yards.

In truth, it was only half-hearted finishing that prevented a greater margin of victory. Yet that would have been unfair on the 10 players who remained on the pitch in  Collins’s absence.

Tussle: Bale goes in on Dries Mertens

Tussle: Bale goes in on Dries Mertens

Eden Hazard
Mousa Dembele

Star names: Eden Hazard and Dembele featured for Belgium but neither were on top form

 

 

The comments below have not been moderated.

Wales are not a world class team Bellamy is not works class Bale is not world class Stick to sheep

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Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear......Wales do it again.....lose C'mon boyos.......Mr Bellamy and co......what a let down

Click to rate     Rating   3

- Fizmo, be, 08/09/2012 10:1 It's fine you don't need to play well to beat Wales!

Click to rate     Rating   1

For the benefit of the idiot from Stoke on Trent, I can assure you that no Welshman would wish to be English!! Stick to commenting on your hoof ball team.

Click to rate     Rating   4

I bet Ramsey wishes he was English like Ryon Shawcross is then he would not have to play for Wales, mind you he would not be picked for England so on second thoughts its best if he is Welsh.

Click to rate     Rating   19

Not the best performance from Belgium really. They kept possession and won it back well but playing against 10 there should have been some more pace in their attacks, especially on the counter. What they really lack is a class centre forward, every other position is locked down. Mirallas doesn't cut it for me and Lukaku is a work in progress.

Click to rate     Rating   4

As a belgian I have to say we played awful. Slow football, no inspiration, lack of effort and only passing the ball sideways or back to the central defenders. The referee was in favour of belgium, was clear to say. Eventhough I should be happy we won, I got a bad taste about this game and I don't think we really deserved it. Except for a pass to vertonghen in the 16 yard box, hazard was not visible all game, mertens can only cut inside like robben and is very predictable and the midfield players witsel, fellaini & dembele slow the game too much. Anyway, well played wales. Had the feeling you would win or at least draw if you had 10 men all game. Gl in next game.

Click to rate     Rating   10

Here we go again, Coleman blames the officials for the welsh defeat. No comment about all the mistakes his players made, or the fact that Belgium were much the better side. Have we not had enough of listening to the footballers drivel, pre and post match? Take a note of our Olympians and their interviews.

Click to rate     Rating   5

Apparently coleman was thrilled with this performance,well done FAW you`ve taken us back to square 1 with his appointment,at least keegan resinged when he realized he wasn`t cut out as an international manager coleman wont he`s too deluded.

Click to rate     Rating   17

We have great players on all places but 1: a striker. Lukaku is too slow and too rusty for that. 2 defenders that scored does raise questions. I think we deserved to win but I'd fully understand Wales if they'd demand another ref the next time they play. I think the red card was deserved, the free kick was a joke and not seeing 6X hands and all the push and pulls made me think he was taking sides. On top of that we faced a team that had to miss SEVEN players and dropped to 10 after Collins while we were at full strenght and a very very poor support from their fans. I mostly heard "boo" or Belgium fans singing "waar is dat feestje, hier is dat feestje" (translated: where is the party! Here is the party!). To see how we strugled there wasn't what I hoped to see, they were way too slow in their play. I'm happy we won, I think we deserved it but I didn't see football that would buy us a ticket to Brazil, lots of work for Wilmots. I hope they go all out vs Croatia.

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