Wales vs. Belgium Euro 2016 Head to head: Joe Allen vs. Divock Origi

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Liverpool duo Joe Allen and Divock Origi could face-off at Euro 2016 on Friday evening, with both offering key attributes to their respective sides.

Wales and Belgium go head-to-head in the second of the four quarter-finals, in what should be a very intriguing contest.

It will be the seventh time the two nations have met in the last 10 years, with Belgium winning three and Wales one of those clashes.

The Welsh topped Group B at the expense of England, and disposed of Northern Ireland in the last-16, while Marc Wilmots’ outfit finished second in Group E behind Italy, before thrashing Hungary 3-0 on Sunday evening.

Both Chris Coleman and Wilmots will feel their teams have a genuine chance of making the semi-finals, edging them closer to glory at Stade de France on 10th July in the process.

Two potentially key figures in the game could be the Liverpool pair of Allen and Origi, who bring differing qualities to their respective countries.

Hot-Prospects---Wales-v-Belgium-compressor
Infographic provided by Andrews Air Conditioning.

Allen

TOULOUSE, FRANCE - Monday, June 20, 2016: Wales' Joe Allen in action against Russia during the final Group B UEFA Euro 2016 Championship match at Stadium de Toulouse. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Red supporters have witnessed Allen’s enormous improvements firsthand over the last year or so, with the Welshman scoring three goals in 37 appearances, and playing with huge amounts of quality and authority.

He has been tremendous at Euro 2016 so far, proving to be a pivotal figure in a Wales team that continues to silence the doubters.

The 26-year-old has been a real class act in the centre of Wales’ midfield, providing one delightful assist for Aaron Ramsey in the 3-0 win over Russia.

He has been a constant feature in the team, playing in all four matches so far – not many midfielders at the tournament have been more influential and consistent.

Many are of the opinion that Allen has actually been Wales’ best player, which says a lot when you consider the impact both Gareth Bale and Ramsey have made.

The diminutive Liverpool maestro will come up against his toughest opponents so far on Friday, winning what will be his 29th cap.

It is easy to forget that Allen played five times for Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics, and that experienced has seemingly stood him in good stead for the tournament this summer.

Origi

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - Sunday, November 16, 2014: Wales' James Chester in action against Belgium's Divock Origi during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Group B game at the King Baudouin [Heysel] Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Origi really came of age in a Reds shirt in 2015/16, and having looked out of sorts prior to Jurgen Klopp‘s arrival last October, he was arguably Liverpool’s first-choice striker by March or April.

Considering Daniel Sturridge‘s brilliance, that speaks volumes.

The 21-year-old has grown significantly in terms of physical stature, gaining a reported four kilograms in muscle, and he looks like an great long-term prospect at Anfield.

10 goals and two assists in 33 appearances was a solid return last season, but as the rawness gradually disappears from his game, we will only see more consistency and end product in the final third.

Frustratingly for Origi, he hasn’t been able to stamp his authority on Euro 2016 yet, and he will be desperate to add to his current tally of three goals for his country.

Romelu Lukaku has, perhaps understandably, been Wilmots’ first-choice striker, and Origi has only managed a lively but wasteful late cameo against Italy, and four minutes against Sweden.

He made a mark at the World Cup in Brazil two years ago, scoring against Russia at the age of just 19, and he will still believe he can play a starring role in France.

Prediction

PARIS, FRANCE - Saturday, June 25, 2016: Wales' Joe Allen in action against Northern Ireland's Corry Evans and Steven Davis during the Round of 16 UEFA Euro 2016 Championship match at the Parc des Princes. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Like so many of the unpredictable matches at Euro 2016, you wouldn’t want to guess who will make it through to the semi-finals out of Wales and Belgium.

Wilmots’ men are comfortably favourites with the bookies, and with talent like Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Toby Alderweireld in their ranks, among others, it is not difficult to understand why.

Wales’ team spirit has shone through time and time again, however, and in Bale, they have one of the world’s best footballers.

It is likely to be a tight, low-scoring affair – extra-time and penalties may well be needed to separate the two sides – but Origi’s Red Devils should just about have enough experience and class to see off Allen’s Dragons.

Both men will believe they can make a huge impact on proceedings, in what is one of the biggest matches in both countries’ history.

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