World Cup qualification UEFA - Wales secure play-off spot with draw against Belgium in Cardiff
World Cup qualification UEFA Group E, Cardiff City Stadium – Wales 1 (Moore 32’) Belgium 1 (De Bruyne 12’)
CARDIFF, WALES - NOVEMBER 16: Kieffer Moore of Wales celebrates with teammates after scoring their side's first goal during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between Wales and Belgium at Cardiff City Stadium on November 16, 2021 in Cardiff, Wales. (
Belgium's midfielder Kevin De Bruyne celebrates scoring the opening goal during the FIFA World Cup 2022 Group E qualifier football match between Wales and Belgium at Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, south Wales on November 16, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS /
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However, Wales provided a threat on the break and when Daniel James' cross found Kieffer Moore, he rifled home to level and send the home supporters wild.
Belgium - who were without several key players - continued to look dangerous in attack and their quality almost told when Thorgan Hazard crashed a gorgeous first-time volley against the woodwork.
The second half was a much quieter affair but Wales looked more likely to win the game. They went close when Connor Roberts was afforded time and space to pick his spot but badly fluffed his lines with a wild effort. Nico Williams went even closer, forcing a fine save from Koen Casteels.
In the end, however, Wales will be more than pleased with the draw, demonstrated by the emotional scenes at the full-time whistle. It means they finish one point ahead of third-placed Czech Republic, who defeated Estonia 2-0.
TALKING POINT - Impressive Wales achieve seeded position in play-offs
Not since 1958 have Wales qualified for a World Cup. Thanks to a fine Nations League campaign and an even more impressive qualifying campaign, they're now potentially just two games from next year's tournament in Qatar.
CARDIFF, WALES - NOVEMBER 16: Joseff Morrell of Wales is challenged by Charles de Ketelaere of Belgium during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between Wales and Belgium at Cardiff City Stadium on November 16, 2021 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Cathe
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Backed by the raucous crowd, Wales pressed high against the world's number one ranked nation, provided a threat on the counter and generally made life difficult for a much-changed but strong Belgium team.
Part one of the job is achieved - they are now guaranteed a home draw in the semi-final and will avoid fellow seeded teams Italy, Portugal, Russia and Scotland. It will give them every confidence of finally ending a 64-year wait to play on the world's biggest stage.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Kieffer Moore (Wales)
Nico Williams was excellent at full-back, but Moore was Wales' best on the night. He has grown into a hugely important player for his country and will be key to their success in the future. Since his international debut in September 2019, the Cardiff City forward has scored more goals in all competitions than any other Wales player with eight.
Wales: Ward 6, N. Williams 8, B. Davies 5, Mepham 6, Rodon 7, Morrell 6, Ramsey 6, Allen 6, C. Roberts 6, James 7, Moore 8*.. subs: Johnson N/A.
12' - GOAL! Wales 0-1 Belgium (Kevin De Bruyne): Who else but De Bruyne? Wales fail to clear their lines as both Meunier and Witsel have shots blocked. It falls to the Manchester City magician who punishes the hosts, curling a beautiful shot past Ward into the bottom corner.
32' - GOAL! Wales 1-1 Belgium (Kieffer Moore): Wales are level thanks to Moore! James' first and second crosses are blocked but he gets another bite of the cherry and this time picks out Moore, who takes a touch before rifling a low shot past Casteels!
41' - Off the post! That's a wonderful effort from Hazard! Unmarked on the edge of the area, De Bruyne's free-kick picks him out and with wonderful technique he curls a first-time volley at goal. With Ward rooted to the spot, it looks destined for the top corner but agonisingly for Belgium it comes back off the woodwork!
50' - Great chance for Wales! Boyata is caught out defensively as James steals the ball down the left flank. His cross picks out Roberts, who runs onto the shot but mishits it completely and sends it high and wide!
84' - Great save! Williams carves in off the left flank before unloading with a shot that is heading for the far post. However, the fully stretched Casteels somehow manages to push it wide!
11 of Kevin De Bruyne's last 15 goals for Belgium in all competitions have been scored from outside the box.
De Bruyne has been directly involved in 24 goals in his last 19 appearances in all competitions for Belgium (eight goals, 16 assists).