Sunday, 24 June, 2018

Wales remain in contention after 1-1 draw with Serbia

Sherri Watson | 25 June, 2017, 04:21

They did well to take the lead against the run of play, but ultimately Serbia deserved more than a point, and Wales can be happy to take home just the one. But a win in Belgrade, without the suspended Gareth Bale and Neil Taylor, would be nearly as impressive as Wales's most exciting Euro 2016 heroics.

"It is an exciting group", Coleman added.

"You've seen it time and again, football is unusual, and we might be soon talking about one of the best Wales performances in years".

"Other people say "this is 90 minutes, I'm going to enjoy this and it will make me better".

But, once more, Mitrovic proved their nemesis with a clinical left-footed strike - a fifth of the campaign - to move his side back above Republic of Ireland, who also have 12 points, on goal difference at the top of the table.

Halfway through 2018 World Cup qualifying group D, four draws in five games (coupled with a 4-0 win over Moldova in the opening game of the group) had left Wales four points adrift of both Saturday's hosts (having drawn 2-2 in Cardiff with them) and the Republic of Ireland at the top of the group.

Allen was part of a Wales team embarrassed 6-1 by Serbia in September 2012 when Chris Coleman's reign was in danger of being over before it had nearly started. We have a double header now in September, I know we lose Joe Allen for the first game through suspension, but we are looking forward to it'. Serbia now sit in first, level on points with the Republic of Ireland and are under pressure to beat Wales in order to remain in the driver's seat.

Wales has not reached a World Cup since 1958 and it remains four points shy of its opponent at the Group D summit after goals from Aaron Ramsey and Mitrovic.

"Hopefully we'll have that mental sharpness and focus so that if we're in the lead we can hang on to it and see it out, because that's what's been missing in this campaign", he said. We can go there and get a result that is what can happen.

The Welsh goalkeeper had to punch away a risky Filip Kostic just after the interval and the Serbians felt they should have had two penalties in the opening stages. "We have seen that", Coleman said.

Aaron Ramsey helped Wales earn a draw against Serbia in the absence of Gareth Bale.

This has become the pivotal game in our group, as if we get the win, Georgia then play Austria and Wales in their next two games where a draw would be enough to officially kill either side's chances.

"All of a sudden the crowd start getting really rowdy, the opposition up the tempo for five or 10 minutes and they bombard you".

The response from Wales, however, was full of objective, looking to take back the initiative and grab a second goal that they easily deserved.