No friendly regrets for Wales boss

2015-06-09 09:39
Chris Coleman (File)

London - Wales manager Chris Coleman said he had no regrets about sparing his side a friendly international ahead of their Euro 2016 qualifier against Belgium in Cardiff on Friday.

Both sides are level on points at the top of Group B, although Belgium, with only world champions Germany now above them in FIFA's latest rankings, have the edge on goal difference.

Coleman was among the crowd in Paris on Sunday to see Belgium beat France 4-3 in an entertaining contest.

However, some of the shine of Belgium's victory was rubbed off by the sight of both Dries Mertens and Jan Vertonghen limping away from heavy French tackles.

But Coleman said Belgium's "conveyor belt" of talent meant they could cope with injuries to players just a week before a competitive match.

"They can have a friendly because if they lose one or two it is not a problem, as they have a conveyor belt," Coleman said.

"They don't have to worry about that. That is the way they prepare because it is best for them, but it is not necessarily what is best for us," added the Wales manager, who ditched plans for a proposed home friendly with Northern Ireland.

"We wanted a different route and have gained time on the (training) pitch with the players to prepare them for this game.

"We have lost money by not having a friendly but sometimes you have to make sacrifices.

"My message was that we keep talking about qualifying and what we are prepared to do for it, so we have done that and had eight days preparing for Belgium instead of four. It is a big advantage for us," added Coleman, at an event with Wales team sponsor Vauxhall.

Wales have already lost defenders Ben Davies and James Collins to injury, while midfielders George Williams and Jonny Williams are also set to be sidelined.

But Wales expect Paul Dummett, James Chester and Aaron Ramsey to be fit for the match with Belgium, the second-best side in the world according to the FIFA rankings, at the Cardiff City Stadium on Friday.

"From day one we have let them know what is coming in the challenge ahead," said Coleman. "If you are going to qualify, sooner or later you have to play a great team.

"You have to compete and get something and this is where we are," added Coleman, looking to guide Wales to their first major championships since the 1958 World Cup.

"They are second in the world for a reason and won't change the way they play. Why should they? It is working.

"They will be expansive, they will attack, they will start quick and they will look to control the tempo of the game...But I don't need to tell my players what is expected," Coleman said.

Read more on:    euro 2016  |  aaron ramsey  |  chris coleman  |  soccer

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