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Final talk on hold until Belgium overcome Wales

By Angus MacSwan

TOULOUSE (Reuters) - Belgium's Euro 2016 title credentials were boosted by a big win over Hungary in the last 16 on Sunday but before they can even think about reaching the final they face a tricky rematch with recent conquerors Wales.

They played the Welsh in the qualifying competition for a place at the finals and lost 1-0 in Cardiff in June last year to a Gareth Bale goal following a 0-0 draw in Brussels.

Belgium coach Marc Wilmots is under no illusions about the challenge facing his side when they meet one of the tournament's surprise packages in the quarter-final in Lille on Friday.

"We are not in the final yet," Wilmots said. "Wales are a very strong side, and not just with Gareth Bale, they have other good players.

"They have annoyed us in the past because they play very deep. Now we are going to plan tactically for Wales and above all what is important for me is that the players rest well before the next match."

Eden Hazard, the star of Belgium's 4-0 trouncing of Hungary, also said they would not be underestimating Wales.

"They are a tricky side to play against. They have a very compact unit and they have a great player up front," Hazard said referring to Bale.

Belgium's 'Golden Generation' will not need to be reminded of their experience at the 2014 World Cup, when they beat the United States in the Round of 16 but were disappointing in their quarter-final defeat against Argentina.

Wilmots, sometimes accused of not getting the best out of his players, thinks he has now hit on the right formula.

"I think our 4-3-2-1 formation, with almost four forwards, we were able to strike the right balance," he said.

Despite Sunday's emphatic win, Wilmots was upset about Belgium's failure to translate first half dominance into goals.

"At halftime, we can't come in at 1-0. We kept the game at 1-0 too long," he said. "I told everyone to stay calm and told them to keep going because they were moving the ball very well."

(Reporting by Angus MacSwan; editing by Ken Ferris)

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