Wales want to avoid ‘derbies’ in France

Date published: Wednesday 14th October 2015 8:47

Wales manager Chris Coleman wants to avoid the other home nations in December’s Euro 2016 draw.

Coleman’s side completed their historic qualifying campaign with a 2-0 victory over Andorra in Cardiff on Tuesday as Welsh football fans partied like never before.

Wales’ place at a first major tournament for 58 years was confirmed on Saturday night, and second-half strikes from Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale against Andorra ensured they would finish their fixtures on a winning note.

Attention will turn to the 24-team draw in Paris on December 12 where Wales, ranked eighth in the world, will be among the bottom seeds due to their low UEFA coefficient rating.

And Coleman admits that he is keen to avoid derby-type games with England and Northern Ireland and, possibly other neighbours in the shape of 2018 World Cup qualifying rivals Republic of Ireland, who will be involved in next month’s play-offs for a place in France.

“Apparently we’re going to be in a tough group in France,” Coleman said.

“They’re calling it the group of death because of the way the seedings are going – and that’s fine.

“Against anyone on our day, and we’ve proved it, we’re a good team and difficult to play against.

“But I’d prefer if it wasn’t one of the home nations or the Republic if they get through.

“We would be travelling to France to play a derby game and if I was choosy it would be nice to get somebody different.

“But whoever comes out of the hat we look forward to, there’s nothing to be afraid of that’s for sure.”

In seeing off Andorra, Wales kept their seventh clean sheet of a competition which has seen them concede only four times and just once in open play.

But if there was one disappointing statistic of a campaign that will never be forgotten it was that Wales managed only 11 goals, with Bale scoring seven of them.

They struggled at times to open up Andorran opponents ranked 205th out of 209 teams in world football, but Coleman was quick to cite mitigating circumstances in failing to punish the part-timers from the Pyrenees.

“We can celebrate now but it’s been a tough few days,” Coleman said.

“We wanted to celebrate but we knew this game was here.

“We knew the opposition were going to defend on the edge of the box for most of the game and it was going to be difficult to break them down.

“In our last two home games, against Israel and Andorra, we have found it difficult because we’re not a team expected to go and win games and create loads of chances.

“We’re expected to be underdogs and that’s how we’ve claimed points.

“The next step for us is when opponents defend deep we need to be clinical in possession.

“But we’re delighted we got a couple of goals and the three points we wanted.

“The atmosphere was absolutely brilliant and it’s a night I’ll never forget.”

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