Confident Wales ready for Belgium in 2016 Euro qualifier
Chris Coleman has said Wales have ditched their minnow tag, insisting it is now "not acceptable to lose" when his Group B table-topping side travel to Belgium for a crunch 2016 Euro qualifier on Sunday.
Brussels: Chris Coleman has said Wales have ditched their minnow tag, insisting it is now "not acceptable to lose" when his Group B table-topping side travel to Belgium for a crunch 2016 Euro qualifier on Sunday.
Wales have not qualified for a major tournament finals since the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, but have only lost one of their previous eight internationals under Coleman.
That has given the more than 2,000 travelling Welsh fans hope as they make the trip to the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels and Coleman believes his squad, which includes talisman Gareth Bale as well as fit-again midfield pair Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen, have a new-found hard to beat mentality.
"We have a mentality now that it is not acceptable to lose," Coleman said. "It`s not just another game or we have lost a game and it`s Wales and we`re minnows. It`s not acceptable.
"We have worked hard at saying we need to be harder, meaner and more streetwise as a group."
The former Wales international added: "We`ve still got a way to go, but compared to two years ago, the group is unrecognisable. We know how to win and we`re more ruthless than we were and it`s all about points."
Wales face their toughest test yet, having overcome Andorra and Cyprus and gained a creditable goalless draw with Bosnia.
Coleman is well aware of the threat posed by Marc Wilmots`s World Cup quarter-finalists, who are ranked fourth in the global standings.
"Belgium are where they are in the rankings for a reason," Coleman said. "They are a top team. But there is nothing for us to fear. We are lucky in the sense that we have a good group.
"Everybody in the main wants to talk about Bale or Ramsey but when we are all together we don`t have individuals. We`ve got a captain in Ashley Williams who speaks his mind. He`s got the respect of everybody.
"And everyone respects each other so it doesn`t matter who is on the pitch."Real Madrid superstar forward Bale, the world`s most expensive player, was adamant his team-mates would come out "all guns blazing" against Belgium.
"It`s a nice change (to be top of the group), but it`s something we`re all relishing and excited about," Bale said. "Ultimately it is where we want to be.
"We are in a great situation ourselves at the moment and we are looking forward to the weekend.
"We are going to give it our all and go for it all guns blazing and try and do the best we can. We know how good a team Belgium are but we know how good we are."
Belgium are without captain Vincent Kompany following a calf injury.
But they still have several English Premier League talents to call on in the likes of Chelsea`s Thibault Courtois and Eden Hazard, Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke and Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini.
And Belgium goalkeeper Courtois warned his side would be punished by Wales if they were as sloppy in defence as in their 3-1 friendly win over Iceland on Wednesday, when he had to make several saves.
"Some players weren`t doing their defensive job," said Courtois. "If we play like this on Sunday against Wales, we`ll get crushed.
"That`s what I told the manager straight after the game. I told him who didn`t do their job. I know it was only a friendly, but the guys should always be willing to run. If not, then they should be put on the bench."