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Wales 1-1 Belgium: Johnson cancels out Tielemans opener

Brennan Johnson's first international goal earned Wales their first point in UEFA Nations League Group A4.

Highlights: Wales 1-1 Belgium

Brennan Johnson scored the late equaliser as Wales held Belgium in this UEFA Nations League Group A4 contest in Cardiff.

Key moments

14' Bale whips shot over for home side
41' Trossard scuffs glorious chance wide
51' Tielemans fires in Batshuayi lay-off
86' Johnson slides in late equaliser

Match in brief: Wales leave it late

Youri Tielemans celebrates after his opener
Youri Tielemans celebrates after his openerBELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images

There were no goals in the first half but certainly no lack of chances. Ethan Ampadu had an early effort ruled out for offside and Gareth Bale went close as Wales started purposefully. Connor Roberts had two further opportunities before the break, glancing the first and slicing the second over the bar from promising positions, but Belgium had arguably the pick of the openings when Leandro Trossard miscued with the goal at his mercy.

The Red Devils were not so profligate just after the break, as Michy Batshuayi teed up Youri Tielemans to sweep in the opening goal. Rob Page's men rarely threatened thereafter but secured their maiden point at the highest echelon of the Nations League when Aaron Ramsey cleverly set up Johnson to slide his finish across Koen Casteels.

As it happened: Wales 0-1 Belgium

Mark Pitman, match reporter

Johnson has been labelled as an exciting part of the next generation for Wales, and tonight he showed that his time may have arrived as he came off the bench to equalise. Wales had missed a host of chances in the opening half, with Ampadu's effort ruled offside, but they did not let Belgium's goal affect their belief. Belgium had all the possession but clear-cut chances were limited, and both managers will accept the draw as a fair result from what was another memorable game between these two nations.

Reaction

Johnson: 'The best feeling ever'

Brennan Johnson, Wales goalscorer: "I can't really describe what was going on in my head [when I scored]. Everything just came out and it was the best feeling I've ever had. I think it shows what we've done this week. Ukraine was a really hard game but we showed how tough we are to get through some tough periods in the game and we've done the same today."

Youri Tielemans, Belgium midfielder: "I think it was a mixed performance. In the first half we created a few chances, but after we didn't keep the ball enough to create more chances to score a second goal to end the game. We put ourselves in trouble and they scored in the end. A point is not a bad result but it could have been better."

Wales defender Connor Roberts fires over in the first half
Wales defender Connor Roberts fires over in the first halfAFP via Getty Images

Key stats

  • Belgium have scored in 47 consecutive international matches, including their last 15 in the Nations League; the last time they failed to find the net was against France in the 2018 World Cup semi-finals.
  • Wales have lost only one of their last seven matches against Belgium (W2 D4).
  • Belgium had not drawn any of their previous 14 Nations League matches (W9 L5) before this game.

Line-ups

Wales: Hennessey; C Roberts (Norrington-Davies 61), Rodon, Mepham, B Davies (Burns 73); Wilson (Colwill 73), Allen (Ramsey 38), Ampadu, N Williams; Bale (Johnson 73), James

Belgium: Casteels; Dendoncker, Boyata, Theate; Meunier, Tielemans, Witsel (Openda 90+3), Trossard (Praet 72); De Bruyne (E Hazard 72), Batshuayi, Carrasco (T Hazard 61)

Group 4 Live now

Played P Won W Draws D Lost L For Against Goal difference Points Pts
NED Netherlands
Playing now
4 3 1 0 11 6 5 10
BEL Belgium
Playing now
4 2 1 1 9 6 3 7
POL Poland
Playing now
4 1 1 2 5 10 -5 4
WAL Wales
Playing now
4 0 1 3 5 8 -3 1

What happens after the UEFA Nations League group stage?

The four group winners in League A will advance to the knockout finals with, in principle, one appointed as hosts. The semi-finals will be played on 14 and 15 June 2023 with the final and third-place play-off to follow on 18 June.

The teams finishing fourth in the groups in League A will be relegated to League B for the 2024/25 edition.