'Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne in Portsmouth's midfielder's pocket' - why it was a bitter-sweet night for Wales and former Bristol City and Luton Town man against Belgium

Joe Morrell will miss Wales’ World Cup qualifying semi-final play-off - after earning plaudits for his fine display against Belgium.

The Pompey midfielder shone against the world’s number one ranked footballing nation, as his team guaranteed themselves a seeding for the Qatar play-offs next March in their final qualifier.

It means Rob Page’s side are now two games away from qualifying for their first World Cup finals since 1958.

They will have home advantage in that bid thanks to their performance at the Cardiff City Stadium.

But Morrell will miss the match, after picking up a first-half booking for a foul on Axel Witsel last night.

That was a disappointment for the man who’s been in excellent form for Danny Cowley’s side before going away on international duty.

The blow didn’t stop Morrell taking to Instagram today to celebrate his country’s success.

He said: ‘Some night last night, and what an atmosphere! Bring on the play-offs in March.’

Joe Morrell in action for Wales against Belgium last night. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Morrell’s performance against Belgium earned widespread praise, with many struggling to understand how he’s not operating at a higher level than League One.

And many were impressed with how he dealt with Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne in the second half after the midfielder grabbed his side’s goal.

Speaking on Twitter, @RedWallNews1 said: ‘Joey Morrell appreciation post. The boy went toe to toe with De Bruyne and Co and stood up to be counted, what a performance. Well done @JoeJMorrell.’

@TheDepressedFM added: ‘KDB spent the entire second half firmly tucked into Portsmouth’s Joe Morrell’s back pocket. Fantastic team performance and Neco outstanding as well.’

@ftbIgaz said: ‘Everyone was brilliant tonight but special shout out to my boy Joe Morrell, playing League One football and doesn’t look out of place on the pitch with Kevin De Bruyne.’

Others felt Morrell delivered his finest performance in a Wales shirt:

@Stavross1927 said: Morrell had his best game in a wales shirt tonight. Find him a bit negative in possession sometimes, but today was looking to make a positive forward pass wherever possible and broke up a lot of their play. Shame he’s suspended for the semi final.’

@1223334567888a summed up the appreciation being given to Morrell.

He said: ‘I thought Morrell was outstanding tonight. He always puts in a shift and rarely has a poor game, he is Mr Consistent and doesn’t always get the credit he deserves.’

Designed with Pompey fans in mind

Get unlimited access to all The News’ sports coverage without the need for a full subscription. Play-by-plays of every match, in-depth analysis, live blogs and exclusive interviews starting from just £2 per month; that’s just 50p per week - click HERE to subscribe.