Chris Coleman Reveals He's 'Desperate' for Wales to Qualify for World Cup Ahead of Ireland Clash

Wednesday July 19th, 2017

Wales manager Chris Coleman has revealed that he and his players are desperate to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia ahead of Friday night's qualifier with Republic of Ireland, reports ​BBC Sport. 

The Wales manager hopes to repeat the success of Wales' recent past. They were knocked out by eventual champions Portugal in the semi-finals of Euro 2016, their first major tournament in 58 years, but were the story of the tournament along the way - beating pre-tournament favourites Belgium in the last eight.

Wales's manager Chris Coleman looks on ahead of the World Cup 2018 qualification match between Wales and Serbia at Cardiff City stadium in Cardiff on November 12, 2016. / AFP / Anthony DEVLIN (Photo credit should read ANTHONY DEVLIN/AFP/Getty Images)
ANTHONY DEVLIN/GettyImages

Coleman has said that this will be his final campaign in charge of the national side, and for him to feel satisfied that he has left Wales with a legacy, qualification for the next World Cup is of paramount importance.

He said: "I do think about Russia. Just because we went to France, it doesn't mean Russia is less important.


"If you see the film [Don't Take Me Home, the Wales Euro 2016 documentary], it gives you a taste for it again. You want to be back in that environment so I'm desperate to do it again. 


"Desperate. It's the only word I can use. I'm desperate to go back, be in the middle of that type of pressure. I can't describe to you how that felt. I absolutely want that again. I do. That's all I think about."

Wales's manager Chris Coleman gestures on the touchline during the World Cup 2018 qualification match between Wales and Serbia at Cardiff City stadium in Cardiff on November 12, 2016. / AFP / Anthony DEVLIN (Photo credit should read ANTHONY DEVLIN/AFP/Getty Images)
ANTHONY DEVLIN/GettyImages

Coleman's side sit in third place of their qualifying group, four points behind leaders Ireland who they face on Friday evening. 


Wales need to beat Ireland in Dublin to keep their hopes alive, the Welsh boss said that: "I think until it's mathematically impossible, I'll always, and we've always, got to look at it and go: We've got a chance. So unless we can't finish top and we can't finish second, if that happens, then I'll see how I feel and Wales will see how they feel, I imagine, because it is my last campaign."

Friday's clash with Ireland has echoes of the Euro 2016 match up against England which Wales lost. Coleman hopes that his side will have learnt from their mistakes in Lens: "We went 1-0 up and then we wished our life away, rather than just enjoying those moments. It's the same for the Republic of Ireland - 50,000 people in the Aviva Stadium, they're top, everyone is billing it as a must-win game for us.

CARDIFF, WALES - MARCH 23: Wales player Gareth Bale (2nd l) shares a joke with captain Ashley Williams during a Wales Open Training session ahead of their World Cup Qualifier against the Republic of Ireland at the Vale Hotel on March 23, 2017 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/GettyImages

"But the game will come and go. It only lasts 90 minutes. 


"The build-up beforehand goes on a lot longer than the game itself. I think you forget sometimes when you're in it that you've got to enjoy it, the players have got to enjoy it on the pitch, and they'll do that if they do what they're good at."


"We can't miss the game, we did that I think against England. We were disappointed after the England game because it was a British derby and there was so much surrounding it, and we got sucked into that."

CARDIFF, WALES - MARCH 23: Wales manager Chris Coleman (l) and Osian Roberts look on during a Wales Open Training session ahead of their World Cup Qualifier against the Republic of Ireland at the Vale Hotel on March 23, 2017 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/GettyImages

Coleman admitted that he was so distraught after the England defeat that he broke one of his own rules: "It was a dry camp, we were together seven weeks. No alcohol, staff or players. But I had a double whiskey by myself, a sneaky one out on the balcony. As a manager you have to look at yourself and I thought I was preaching all the time, don't get sucked into this game to England.


"So I was devastated, not because it was England, but we are at a tournament, it is the second game, we had a point in the bag and with four points we were going through really. But we let it slip. I was absolutely gutted."

CARDIFF, WALES - MARCH 23: Wales player Gareth Bale in action during a Wales Open Training session ahead of their World Cup Qualifier against the Republic of Ireland at the Vale Hotel on March 23, 2017 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/GettyImages

The Wales boss hopes it will be a different story this time around. He said that: "It's all about us, not worrying about ifs and buts and what happens if we don't do this. It's all about preparation, sticking to our game plan, if the players stick to that and we lose it's my fault."


"Nine times out of 10 our boys have produced. We've just got to go into this game not worrying about the outcome. Enjoy it. Meet it. Let's have a right go. It's going to be a great atmosphere."

​​

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.