Aaron Ramsey calls on fans to inspire Wales to another victory over Belgium

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  • Aaron Ramsey
    Aaron Ramsey

Aaron Ramsey has called on Wales to evoke the spirit of landmark victories over Belgium as they aim to complete their qualifying group with a victory that would earn a home draw in the World Cup play-offs in March, avoiding Portugal and Russia. A draw on Tuesday would also be sufficient to finish runners-up to Belgium.

A Wales team that included Ramsey recorded a 1-0 victory over Belgium in June 2015 in Cardiff that paved the way towards qualification for their first major tournament in 57 years. At Euro 2016 Wales enjoyed the greatest night in their history against the same opposition, as Hal Robson-Kanu’s Cruyff turn and finish helped them to the semi-finals.

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“We’ve had some good games against Belgium over years, home and away,” Ramsey said. “That [1-0 win] was a massive game in our quest to qualify for a major championship.”

The Juventus midfielder added: “We all know the quality they have in their team, the players they have – they have the ability to do something or turn a game on its head, produce a bit of magic. We’ll have to be right on it and we’re going to need our fans to come away with a good result. To qualify for a World Cup, these opportunities won’t come along very often. It might be the last time we have an opportunity as good as this. We have a game now to finish the job off so, hopefully, we can produce another special night in Cardiff.”

The Wales captain, Gareth Bale, will not start as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury. Bale, who played 45 minutes as he won his 100th cap against Belarus on Saturday, trained alone on Monday. “We will leave it until the last minute to see if he can play any minutes,” said the interim Wales manager Robert Page.

Wales (3-4-3) Ward; Mepham, Rodon, B Davies; C Roberts, Allen, Ramsey, N Williams; Wilson, Moore, James

Belgium (3-4-3) Casteels; Boyata, Vertonghen, Castagne; Meunier, Witsel, Vanaken, T Hazard; Trossard, Benteke, Carrasco

Roberto Martínez’s side – ranked No 1 in the world – are without Bale’s Real Madrid teammates Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois, as well as Jason Denayer and Simon Mignolet. Matz Sels of Strasbourg, Koen Casteels of Wolfsburg or Thomas Kaminski of Blackburn will start in goal. “Whatever team they put out will be strong and can punish the opposition,” Ramsey said.

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