International

Wales made to wait

2015-09-07 08:12
Gareth Bale (Getty Images)

Cardiff - Wales will have to wait a little while longer to seal qualification for its first major tournament in 58 years.

A victory over Israel on Sunday would have guaranteed Wales an automatic spot at next year's European Championship, but the match finished 0-0 in Cardiff.

The unbeaten Welsh still could have qualified had Belgium failed to beat Cyprus hours later. Yet there was more frustration for Gareth Bale's side, with Eden Hazard's 86th-minute goal earning the Belgians a scrappy 1-0 win.

Wales remained in a very strong position to reach its first major tournament since the 1958 World Cup, requiring just one point from an away match against Bosnia-Herzegovina or at home to Andorra.

Andorra has lost all eight of its qualifiers so far, conceding 30 goals in the process, and 52 competitive matches in a row.

"We wanted to get it done and dusted today," Wales captain Ashley Williams said. "But we have two more games and it's still on us."

Wales leads Belgium by a point, with Israel four points further back in third. Bosnia-Herzegovina beat Andorra 3-0 to trim the gap to Israel to two points with two rounds of games left.

For a country that has squandered a number of great chances to end its wait for a major tournament — notably in 1985, 1993 and 2003 — this will go down as another missed opportunity for Wales and the frustration was evident at fulltime.

There was almost late drama when Wales substitute Simon Church headed the ball into the net with seconds left in stoppage time, but it was ruled out for offside.

Two years ago, the Football Association of Wales was giving away tickets for national-team matches. But the Welsh public has reconnected with the football team during its stunning rise to No. 9 in the world rankings under manager Chris Coleman and the Cardiff City Stadium was sold out and rocking for the country's biggest match in a decade.

And home fans should have been celebrating early on, with midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Andy Ramsey squandering decent chances.

Bale was kept quiet, except for a run and shot that was tipped aside by goalkeeper Ofir Marciano late in the second half.

"Frustrating day for us," Coleman said.

That frustration doubled when Hazard swept in a left-footed finish on a rapid counterattack in Cyprus, just when it looked like the hosts were going to hold out for a draw.

Ermin Bicakcic, Edin Dzeko and Senad Lulic were first-half scorers for Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Read more on:    wales  |  euro 2016  |  soccer
NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
Vote

Do you think SAFA made the right choice in appointing Stuart Baxter as head coach of Bafana Bafana?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.