Belgium beats Wales to start off their World cup qualifying campaign

 Wales threatened to cause another major upset against Belgium before succumbing to the stellar quality of the world's number one-ranked side in their opening World Cup qualifier.

Wales took an unexpected early lead with their first attack as Connor Roberts and Gareth Bale combined for Harry Wilson to finish a fabulous team move.

Belgium responded swiftly and decisively as Kevin De Bruyne lashed in an equaliser before Thorgan Hazard headed them in front.

That was the least the home side deserved for a dominant first half and, although Wales posed more of a threat in the second half, Romelu Lukaku's penalty settled the game.

Defeat was Wales' first in a competitive match since June 2019, ending a national record of 11 games unbeaten.

This was always likely to be a daunting start to Wales' bid to qualify for a first World Cup since 1958. On paper, there is no fixture in international football more difficult than an away game against the world's number one-ranked side.

Unbeaten in competitive home matches since 2010, Belgium would be among the favourites to win the 2022 World Cup, never mind qualify for it.

It therefore felt like something of an anomaly that they had failed to beat Wales in their four previous encounters, the most recent being Wales' iconic 3-1 quarter-final win at Euro 2016.

Since then, Belgium had scored 153 goals in 51 games under Roberto Martinez and not lost a single qualifier.

With De Bruyne in the form of his life at Manchester City and Lukaku prolific at Inter Milan, this prodigiously talented Belgian side seemed ready to rid themselves of their bizarre Welsh hex.

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