Friday, March 24, 2017

Cyprus trip took its toll in draw, says Coleman

Chris Coleman claimed Wales would have beaten Israel and qualified for Euro 2016 if they had not had to play away at Cyprus just three days earlier.

A 0-0 draw at the Cardiff City Stadium put the celebrations on pause and Coleman felt the 10-hour round trip to Cyprus, where his side won 1-0 courtesy of a Gareth Bale header, had negatively impacted on his players.

He said: “The lads were tired at the end. Baley was tired. A five-hour flight to Cyprus three days ago and a five-hour flight back has taken its toll.

“Had we not had a game in Cyprus three days ago, I think we’d have won.”

Bale almost secured a historic win when he had a late effort saved and Simon Church had the ball in the net in injury time, only to have the goal ruled out for offside.

But Wales remain top of Group B and need just one more point to be sure of qualification for a major tournament for the first time since 1958.

“We felt that if we’d scored early they would have opened up, but it wasn’t to be,” Coleman added.

“But if you’d have offered us four points from these two games beforehand, we’d have bitten your hand off. We’re four points closer to where we need to be. Had Israel have beaten us it would be a different story.

“The teams behind us have to win the games. Belgium and Israel have to play each other and they can’t both win.”

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