Gunter: Eden among many Hazards

  • Last Updated: September 6 2012, 8:52 BST

Chris Gunter is wary of the threat posed by Eden Hazard but has warned his Wales team-mates they will have plenty of alternative threats to deal with against Belgium on Friday night.

Eden Hazard: Marked as a threat by Gunter

The Cardiff City Stadium clash marks the start of Wales' bid to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and reach a first major finals since 1958.

Chris Coleman's Dragons are also pooled with Croatia, Serbia, Scotland and Macedonia in Group A, but it is the star-studded Belgians who are many pundits' favourites to top the section,

As well as stylish Chelsea playmaker Hazard, the visitors can also boast Manchester City's Vincent Kompany, Tottenham's Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele, Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen and Everton's Marouane Fellaini among their squad.

Gunter, 23, came up against Hazard in Reading's 4-2 defeat to the European champions last month and is fully aware of the midfielder's ability, but knows there is plenty of talent to complement him in the Red Devils line-up.

Gunter said: "He was really good against Reading that night.

"They played a few days earlier at Wigan and he has been involved in a lot of Chelsea's goals and assists for them.

"He has been talked about as a quality player for a while and someone finally went and bought him.

"He had a free role a few weeks ago and didn't have someone around him.

"You wouldn't see him for a while but when he got onto the ball, he would do something on it which a lot of people aren't capable of.

"He worked in areas where, as a defender, you don't want to go. He gets in between the midfield and attack.

"But I think it's dangerous in any game just to pick out one player. They have a few players who can do similar stuff to him.

"We'll have a look at them."

Wales head into Friday's encounter as underdogs after a run of three defeats, and ticket sales for the fixture have been disappointing, but Gunter has told their group rivals to underestimate Coleman's team at their peril.

He said: "We can effect what happens in this group.

"We are at the stage where we need to be confident in what we can do.

"I'm sure we can get a result if we play to our maximum. When people come to Wales then I think they will see we have players who can hurt them.

"It's a great chance for us to start well, being at home. We don't tend to start groups too well, so it's ideal for us. We'll be looking to get points on the board early.

"From my point of view, I'm still quite young, but it's the best position I've been in going into a group. I think it's the best shape we have been in."