Eden Hazard wary of Gareth Bale force

Eden Hazard is wary of the threat Wales “superstar” Gareth Bale poses to Belgium’s Euro 2016 hopes.

Tonight’s quarter-final will be the countries’ fifth meeting in less than four years.

Chris Coleman’s men edged the last encounter between the nations in Cardiff a year ago, when Belgium were unable to turn domination into goals as they went down 1-0.

Hazard knows they need to display a more ruthless side at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy tonight, as well as shackle Real Madrid star man Bale.

“We didn’t create too many chances against Wales in recent times,” Hazard said.

“We struggled to score goals. They’ve got a large defensive block, they play with five at the back, they’re difficult to displace. They’ve got top players in the middle of the park and a real superstar up front.

“I hope that tomorrow’s match will be different to the last one we played against them. I hope we can create a lot of chances and score goals”

Belgium approach the quarter-final buoyed by an impressive 4-0 last-16 win against Hungary, with Hazard deservedly being named man of the match in Toulouse.

The midfielder accepts he “didn’t have the best season” at Chelsea but is feeling good ahead of a match which a thigh complaint had made him a doubt for. “My injury is okay, I was able to train this morning,” Hazard said. “I didn’t feel too much pain.”

However, Belgium team-mate Jan Vertonghen faces up to eight weeks on the sidelines after tearing ankle ligaments.

Before travelling up to Lille yesterday, the 29-year-old sustained what was initially reported to be a twisted ankle during training at their team base in Bordeaux.

Vertonghen was pictured arriving in Lille on crutches and Belgium coach Marc Wilmots has confirmed the defender will miss the rest of Euro 2016, with the ankle injury expected to keep him out for six to eight weeks.

Here’s a little extra sport: BallTalk TV look ahead to the Euro 2016 quarter-finals.

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