Vermaelen teases pal Ramsey about Belgium's strength ahead of Wales showdown
21:17 GMT, 5 September 2012
Thomas Vermaelen has said that nothing less than a victory will be acceptable in Cardiff as Belgium’s so-called ‘golden generation’ sent out a confident message ahead of their World Cup qualifier.
Arsenal’s skipper said that he expects ‘six points out of six’ from his country’s opening double-header against Wales and Croatia as he revealed that he has been teasing captain Aaron Ramsay in the Gunners’ dressing-room.
Vermaelen said that he has made Ramsay aware of the Belgians who are playing in the Barclays Premier League.
'I have been speaking to Aaron,' he said, 'and I’ve been saying things like: “Vincent Kompany is playing well for Manchester City” or “Did you see Moussa Dembele’s goal at Old Trafford”
'But he hasn’t said much to me about this.'
Maximum yield: Thomas Vermaelen (left) wants two wins from two
The Arsenal centre-half is part of an impressive Belgian squad that will be without Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku – at least at the start of the match.
The forward, who is currently on loan at West Brom, has told head coach Marc Wilmots that other players deserve to be in the side ahead of him as he recovers from an ankle injury.
The Belgians underwent their final training session in Brussels and Wilmots sprang a surprise by failing to field a striker.
He deployed similar tactics during a friendly defeat against England but received widespread criticism afterwards when the Belgians failed to hit a shot of note on target.
Springing a surprise: Marc Wilmots
If Wales fail to hit the target, Norwich City’s Steve Morison can expect a few tough questions once he leaves the pitch.
John Hartson has been added to Chris Coleman’s backroom team and the Canaries’ forward has admitted that having a specialist to work alongside has been of benefit.
'It’s been nice to have someone to talk to who has been where you have been and done what you want to do in the game,’ said the Wales’s spearhead.
'It’s been good to tap into his knowledge and ask him some questions and it’s been good to have him around.
'He’s brought different ideas to us. We didn’t get too much to work upon before the Bosnia game but we have some time now.
'It’s great to feed off his enthusiasm and it’s nice to have a striker to talk to. A lot of the time I’ve been talking to a defender about what I want to do as a striker. It’s a different kind of conversation.
'Strikers are quite selfish people. You have to be to play that position.
'It’s the first time I’ve really worked with a specialised forward’s coach. I’m going to try and get as much out of it as I can.'
Morison said that while most eyes will be on Belgium and stars like Eden Hazard, Vincent Kompany and Vermaelen, that there is pressure on Wales to perform, particularly as their last campaign ended on such a high.
Dangermen: Belgium are filled with threats, from Axel Witsel to Eden Hazard and from Romelu Lukaku to Mousa Dembele
'There may be an expectation on them, but within our camp, there’s an expectation upon us,' he added.
'We don’t want to do what we did in the last campaign when it was all over after three or four games.
'We want to give ourselves every chance of getting to the World Cup because we think, within the squad, that this is the best chance we have.
'I think it’s going to be an open group, teams will be able to beat each other. You have seen what we have done. We can do well.'