Wales playing for play-offs – Coleman

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Wales boss Chris Coleman is out of contract after the 2018 World Cup

Wales manager Chris Coleman admits his side are probably now playing for a play-off spot as they bid to reach the 2018 World Cup.

A 2-0 win over Moldova has lifted Wales to second in qualifying Group D, with eight of the nine runners-up facing off in play-offs in November.

Wales are currently in ninth spot, but should ensure at least a play-off berth if they win their final two matches, in Georgia and at home to Ireland.

“It looks very exciting,” Coleman said.

“With two games to go you have to fancy Serbia [to win the group], but there is that second place we are trying to get.

“It is still very exciting for us with a lot to play for; the last two games should be fantastic.

“It is in Serbia’s hands. A draw would have been quite good in Dublin.

“Ireland winning would have been better. Fair play to Serbia, they set the pace. It’s theirs to lose. If we have to get through the play-off, absolutely no problem at all.

“We said we had to win the last four games – 50% is done. We have a huge game in Tbilisi next, we have to try to keep it alive and keep going.

‘Two down, two to go’ for Wales

“Away to Georgia, it doesn’t come much tougher, but bring it on – let’s make sure we take the Red Wall with us.

“We will have to be a bit better than we have been in the last two games, with our all-round play, but in terms of courage and perseverance, we want the same again.

“We’ve got to finish the group in the same style and then we don’t know, we will be in the mix.

“I think if you get 20 points you’d be unlucky not to get the play-off spot. That is the aim now. I’ve never been one to look beyond the next game. Realistically we have to get maximum to give ourselves a chance of second.”

Ben Woodburn has played age grade football for Wales throughout his career, despite being born in Nottingham

‘What a player he is’

Midfielder Joe Allen admitted the whole nation was grateful for the efforts of super-sub Ben Woodburn.

The 17-year old scored the winner against Austria on Saturday within four minutes of his introduction and it was his assist that allowed Hal Robson-Kanu to break the deadlock in Moldova.

“He’s made a massive impact in both games. What a player he already is and is going to be,” Allen said of the Liverpool midfielder.

“We will look forward to what involvement he will have for Wales in the future.”

His manager agreed.

“It was harder for him in some ways, than his experience in Cardiff, as we’re a long way from home, the magnitude of this game, a point was not any good for us,” Coleman explained.

“We had to get three points. So for him to come on in a game where it was frustrating for us most of the evening and to do what he did, again, he needs a huge pat on the back. He’s so young, but if you’re good, you’re good. If you are capable you are capable and he showed again he’s got some fantastic talent.”

Hal Robson-Kanu got his first goal for Wales since scoring against Belgium at Euro 2016

‘Not at our best’

Coleman hailed his side for grinding out a result in Chisinau when they really needed to.

“It was a good win, obviously not our best performance, but it was always going to be tough, we had to come here and win,” he said.

“We talked for three days about being patient and it was hard to break them down, but I thought the lads did everything we asked.

“In this campaign, 50% of the game we’ve kept clean sheets, only one game we haven’t scored in. We’ve got must-win games now but we’ve been here before.”


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