Wales hold group leaders Serbia to World Cup qualifying draw

  • Wales hold group leaders Serbia to World Cup qualifying draw

Wales hold group leaders Serbia to World Cup qualifying draw

Branislav Ivanovic has dismissed suggestions that Wales' 6-1 thrashing in Serbia almost five years ago will have any bearing on their World Cup reunion.

Manager Chris Coleman celebrated his 47th birthday on Saturday, but the only present he wants in Belgrade is three points and accepts his side cannot lose to Serbia if they are to top their World Cup group.

"I think it would be like that if I went back to Belgrade with my wife for the weekend!"

Wales might need to win their final four games just to secure second place and a play-off spot.

Wales manager Chris Coleman: "I think we learned a lot from Serbia five years ago when we were beaten heavily, so we knew we had to come here and play hard". If we can manage to get a win there, we would be sitting on 15 points with three games to play right as Wales kick off against Austria (they are the late game again).

"It's identical. It's what we thought as soon as he did it".

"As players you can't help but carry that feeling of wanting to set the record straight".

"Sometimes he's forgotten with all the talk of Gaz, but he's someone I have huge admiration for and make no mistake about it, on his day he's a world-class footballer".

It's safe to say that the ensuing five years have been far more glorious for Wales, taking in qualification for, and reaching the semi-finals of, Euro 2016 but as Coleman and his team prepared for their first visit back to Serbia since that horrific night, there was the sense of pressure weighing on the team and management. I will tell you what can happen.

"It was such a pivotal moment and a highlight that you can only draw inspiration from that".

The signs were ominous for Wales when Aleksandar Kolarov curled a free-kick inches wide but Vokes nearly snatched a second with his head moments later.

They will also be without main man Gareth Bale as the Real Madrid forward is suspended for the Belgrade clash.

But Allen is certain that the rest of the squad can cope without main man Bale.

"Gareth is going to be a massive miss for anybody in the world, whatever team". "There's no point hiding from that fact".

"Can we bridge the gap?"

Sunday's results see Serbia go top on goal difference, while Wales are still four points behind in third.

But Allen denies that this is a must-win game.

And Savage insists that Coleman's men can still qualify for the tournament in Russian Federation, as long as they are in touching distance of the group leaders after the Belgreade encounter. Then we welcomed star of the show Eamon Dunphy to the stage for a free-wheeling chat about his career, Saipan and the problem with Paul Pogba.

Serbia looked more likely to grab a late victor but the Welsh, roared on by 1,000 away fans, held on for their fifth draw of the campaign.