Belgium need to tide over an injury crisis at the back if they are to book a place in the Euro 2016 semifinals against Portugal with a victory over Wales in Lille on Friday. While Wales have received some positive news on the injury front, Belgium are set to be without two of their first-choice defenders for this Euro 2016 quarterfinal.
As good as Belgium's attack might be, on paper and when they tick, it will be difficult for Marc Wilmots' men to keep Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and co. quiet, if they do not have an assured defence.
Thomas Vermaelen is suspended for this match, while Jan Vertonghen is out of Euro 2016 after tearing ankle ligaments in training.
"Jan Vertonghen turned his left ankle at the very end of training and has torn two ankle ligaments," Belgium manager Wilmots told reporters. "It's a sporting tragedy for him. He is out of the tournament, he's out for around six to eight weeks.
"It is tricky but we've got alternatives. The players are ready to step in. It's a unique opportunity. These things happen in tournaments."
With their first-choice central defender and left-back missing from the match against Wales, Wilmots is set to choose from Jordan Lukaku, Laurent Ciman and Jason Denayer.
Denayer and Ciman, who started the tournament at right-back, before losing his spot to Thomas Meunier, are most comfortable in the centre, so one of the two is likely to partner Toby Alderweireld, with Lukaku playing in his preferred position of left-back, unless Wilmots sees the need to beef up the back-four and play both the centre-backs, with Ciman playing on the left, in the starting XI.
Belgium also have a slight worry over Eden Hazard, who was brilliant in the last 16 thumping of Hungary, with the captain struggling with a quadriceps injury. However, Belgium are confident Hazard, who played for Lille before moving to Chelsea, will be fit enough to start the game; how much the injury bothers him, though, remains to be seen.
Yannick Carrasco is fully fit again, but with Dries Mertens doing well in the win over Hungary, the Atletico Madrid man might just have to start this quarterfinal from the bench.
Wales were sweating over the fitness of their captain Ashley Williams, after the centre-back injured his shoulder in the hard-fought round of 16 win over Northern Ireland. However, Williams has recovered sufficiently to feature in the starting XI for Wales.
"Ashley is the captain," Wales manager Chris Coleman said. "You're always worried with a shoulder injury but the medical team have done fantastic getting Ashley ready. It's great news for us that he's going to be available."
Chris Coleman again has the decision to make over who will lead the line – Sam Vokes or Hal Robson-Kanu. If the manager, instead, decides to go with Jonny Williams, Bale will move up front.
Eight players are in danger of missing the semifinal, if they receive a yellow card in this match, four each from Belgium (Meunier, Axel Witsel, Marouane Fellaini and Michy Batshuayi) and Wales (Ben Davies, Neil Taylor, Ramsey and Vokes).
Confirmed starting XI: Wales: Hennessey; Chester, Williams, Davies; Gunter, Allen, Ledley, Taylor; Ramsey, Bale; Robson-Kanu.
Belgium: Courtois; Meunier, Alderweireld, Denayer, J Lukaku; Witsel, Nainggolan; Carrasco, De Bruyne, Hazard; R Lukaku.