Belfast Telegraph

Wales can beat the very best, says Coleman

Wales v Austria, World Cup Group D qualifier: Cardiff City Stadium, tonight, 7.45pm

By Phil Blanche

Chris Coleman remains undaunted by the size of Wales' World Cup task and admits he would not be bothered if they had to beat "Brazil, Spain and Germany" to reach next summer's finals in Russia.

Wales are playing catch-up in Group D with four points to make up on the top two of Serbia and the Republic of Ireland.

Coleman's side have four games left to claw back that deficit - Austria and the Republic at home and Moldova and Georgia away.

But the Wales manager is supremely confident that can be done, although maximum points might be needed to finish top or even claim a play-off spot.

"We can do it (win the last four games) and that's no disrespect to Austria, Moldova, Georgia and the Republic of Ireland," Coleman said ahead of Austria's visit to Cardiff tonight.

"I know this is a statement, but I'll say it - it could be Brazil, Spain and Germany.

"I have that much confidence in our players and in our team, especially here in this (Cardiff City) stadium when it's full.

"If we get it right then there's nobody we need to fear. That's a definite.

"We don't have to be afraid of anyone. But we're only looking at one game.

"We've always done that and one game is always winnable, no matter who it is against."

The two sides drew 2-2 in Vienna last October when West Ham's Marko Arnautovic twice cancelled out a Wales lead.

But there is a real knife-edge feel about this game as Austria are in the same position as Wales.

Austria also have eight points from six games.

"These last four games are like a mini-tournament. They're do-or-die, depending on what the other results are," Coleman said.

"One of us could be dropping out if it's a negative result, so I don't think either team is going into the game looking for a draw.

"Both teams have exciting players capable of scoring goals, so I can see an open game," Coleman added.

Wales expect Aaron Ramsey to play despite the midfielder suffering a kick to the calf in Arsenal's 4-0 Premier League defeat at Liverpool on Sunday.

Wales have fitness concerns over Joe Ledley - who is without a club - while Joe Allen suspended.

Coleman has no concerns over Jonathan Williams after the Crystal Palace forward left the Wales camp on Thursday to make the long journey to Sunderland to complete a loan move.

Belfast Telegraph

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