Trevor Ford scored a hat-trick when Cymru defeated Belgium 5-1 in 1949, and the two nations would not meet again until Terry Yorath's side hosted the Red Devils for this UEFA EURO 1992 qualifier at Cardiff Arms Park in October 1990.

Kevin Ratcliffe captained the side on his 50th international appearance, while Yorath named a strong starting line-up headlined by Mark Hughes, Ian Rush and Dean Saunders in attack. Meanwhile, Belgium included the great Enzo Schifo in midfield, but he was well-marshalled by Peter Nicholas and Barry Horne.

This was a talented generation for Cymru, but the side went behind after 24 minutes when Bruno Versavel beat goalkeeper Neville Southall with a shot from the edge of the area. However, minutes later Rush levelled as he latched on to a fine pass from Saunders to lift the ball over the advancing Michel Preud'homme as the sides went into half-time all square. Cymru left it late, but Saunders and Hughes completed the scoring on 82 and 87 minutes respectively. Saunders calmly slotting the ball home from close range before Hughes finished a powerful run through the Belgian defence in style.

Only the group winners would qualify for the EURO finals in Sweden and it was Germany who took top position above Cymru despite Rush scoring the only goal when the two nations met in Cardiff later in the campaign. It was the only game that Germany dropped points in, while a 1-1 draw in the return match against Belgium in Anderlecht and a 4-1 defeat to Germany in Nuremberg ultimately resulted in Cymru once again missing out on a place at the finals of a major tournament. Yorath and his side would again come agonisingly close in the next campaign.

It remains a frustration that the likes of Southall, Hughes, Rush, Saunders, Gary Speed and Ryan Giggs amongst many other star names would never make it to the finals of a major tournament during their illustrious playing careers. “I’ve got a lot of tremendous memories,” said Yorath to the Red Passion fanzine a few years after his departure from the job. “Working continually with players of high quality was superb. They always responded and they always wanted to play for Wales. In my time as manager the team spirit was 150 per cent. Everyone loved it and it was just infectious.

“Neville Southall was a crucial pivot. He had great experience and at one time he was probably in the top-three goalkeepers in the world. Kevin Ratcliffe as well, he was a smashing defender, a good lad, and he always wanted to play. Again, at one point, I believe he was one of the best defenders in Europe.  When the Wales team lost Ratcliffe it started to struggle. We had to bring in youngsters like Mark Aizlewood and Andy Melville, who was just a young boy. Upfront we obviously had Ryan [Giggs] but that was towards the end of my time as manager. Ian Rush though was a hero for Wales. He had his problems with Juventus but he always loved playing for Wales.”

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