Wales head for Belgian party — but will this be Chris Coleman's farewell bash?
WALES will walk into a party atmosphere in Brussels tonight as the curtain comes down on a campaign in which they have had little to celebrate.
Belgium fans are set to mark their side's qualification for next summer's World Cup with a carnival at this evening's match.
Wales will hope that events on the pitch don't send spirits soaring even higher.
A trip to Belgium is currently one of the toughest fixtures in European football, and there is a danger that Wales could get walloped.
The Belgians remain unbeaten in Group A, having dropped just two points in nine matches, and sealed their trip to Brazil with a win against Croatia last Friday.
They have a golden generation of players that includes Premier League stars like Jan Vertonghen, Thomas Vermaelen, Marouane Fellaini, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku.
And what already looked a tough task has been made more difficult by a mass of Welsh injuries.
Wales won against Macedonia four days ago despite being without 11 players, with star man Gareth Bale, captain Ashley Williams and Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen among the absentees.
That result gave Wales a boost in morale and lifted them to fourth in the pool, but only served to paper over the cracks after a hugely disappointing attempt to reach Brazil.
Apart from two other wins over Scotland, Wales have lost every qualifying game.
And they will have their work cut out to avoid another defeat at the Stade Roi Baudouin.
"Macedonia was a chance for a lot of players to come in and show what they can do. It's about the squad here, the manager had always said that. A lot of us got our chance against Macedonia and put in a good performance," said Simon Church, scorer of the only goal last Friday.
"Any win in any situation is going to be a big deal. It was important for us to get a performance in, we managed to do that and the result came with it.
"We move on from that game now and look towards the next game as we always do, and hopefully we can put in another good performance in Belgium."
Church started at the Cardiff City Stadium after Sam Vokes joined the long list of withdrawals.
And his 67th-minute goal gave Wales a deserved victory.
It helped them leapfrog Macedonia and Scotland — who play Serbia and Croatia respectively this evening — in the standings.
Staying fourth would improve Wales's seeding ahead of the Euro 2016 qualification group draw.
"It's been a long while since I scored for Wales but I haven't been thinking about that. I knew if I had the chance to play up front — and it came against Macedonia — that I could score," said Church.
"I had a few chances which was nice but it was just great to be back in the starting line-up as a striker.
"I'm a centre-forward, not a winger.
"Obviously I've been picked to do a job for the team in the past. Whether I play my best there, I don't think so.
"I was glad to get my chance and play as a striker. For me the big thing in my career now is playing games at club level.
"I've got the chance to do that at Charlton now. That's helping me and I want to nail down that spot as main striker for Wales — and hopefully I'll keep getting chances like that."
Church will no doubt get further opportunities in the future, though it's unclear whether Chris Coleman will be afforded the same luxury.
The Wales manager has been under pressure following a string of lacklustre defeats, including a 6-1 thrashing in Serbia and 3-0 home loss to the same side.
Coleman will discover after this game if the Football Association of Wales want him to remain in position, although the former Fulham boss has revealed he may opt to move on himself after being unhappy that his future is being decided on these last two matches.
Craig Bellamy will definitely play his last game for Wales tonight after announcing the fixture against a side five points clear at the summit will be his last international.
"He's been brilliant for Wales. What an absolute legend," added Church.
"I've always looked up to him and he's been great around the camp. For him to set me up for a goal like he did on Friday was nice."
The home fans will be relishing the chance to toast their side's first appearance at a World Cup for 12 years this evening.
Wales hope it will be Bellamy rather than Belgians who enjoys a memorable send off.