Wales manager Chris Coleman admits there will be a “desperation” around his Euro 2016 heroes as they start their World Cup campaign against Moldova tonight.
Rivals to Ireland in World Cup qualifying Group D, Coleman’s side have a Cardiff homecoming after their summer march to the Euro 2016 semi-finals. But Coleman admits Gareth Bale and company cannot afford to relax on their achievements so swiftly after their time in France.
“What happened at the European Championships was way beyond mine or any of our dreams,” said Coleman.
“The experience was incredible. I couldn’t describe the feeling, especially when we came home. If you are a manager at a club and things are going well, it’s a great feeling because you’ve got the whole city behind you.
“If you’re manager of your country and it’s going well, you’ve got a whole nation behind you — a whole nation proud of you.
“For the World Cup I have to use the word ‘desperation’. We need to feel like that.”
Coleman was part of the Wales team which lost 3-2 to Moldova in 1994 just a few years after the country established independence after the Soviet Union broke up. It was the biggest victory at the time in Moldova’s short football history and, even though there is a massive 154 places between the two countries on the Fifa rankings with Wales sitting in 11th, Coleman is taking nothing for granted.
“Moldova lost eight of their games in the Euro 2016 qualifiers so their record in terms of wins or the world rankings is not great,” said Coleman.
“But they don’t concede many goals, they lose 1-0 or 2-1 and are always in the game.”
Wales are without injured pair Aaron Ramsey and Jonathan Williams, and Coleman has concerns that some of his players are short of fitness.
Skipper Ashley Williams has started only one Premier League game and Neil Taylor has made just one EFL Cup appearance for Swansea, while Hal Robson-Kanu has not played at all.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved