Coleman says it’s all about mindset and attitude. They’re all ‘must not lose’ games from now, this one pivotal in terms of the group, similar to the Belgium game in the Euros and equally as pivotal as Israel away in the qualifiers. Serbia are a team full of quality and Wales have a 6-1 loss in their history to make good.
But, let’s reality check that Wales are capable of beating anybody, and we really could have done with that tonight in terms of momentum going forward into 2017. We needed some magic from our superstars right in front of our Poppy shaped eyes this evening, with the team ethic and everybody playing for each other that sets us apart from our rivals. It was humbling and just right to see Bale, Allen and Ramsey back together, but there really isn’t a weak link in the starting XI we put out last night.
I was stoked to see both Vokes and Robson Kanu in there, we normally just get the luxury of one, but both is a real treat.
Serbia certainly brought a strong and devout following, I wasn’t sat far from them and they were definitely there to be heard, in full chant the minute their heroes came out to warm up. Interestingly, they did so with a quick game of 5 a side, just casually. Throughout the game they could be seen geeing the home fans on around them as we booed their players or celebrated decisions against them – though they were few !
You can’t deny the power of 33,000 voices packed into Cardiff City Stadium all belting out our anthem, the atmosphere is incredible and I’ll stand up and say, we certainly outdo the ‘other’ shape ball for our 90 minute disco.
On the open, it quickly became a very physical game, the Serbians are tall and pushy and this game needed a strong referee.
I thought Wales were cohesive, with Ramsey and Allen setting Gunter up nicely to win corners. Did you spot that 4 man line up in the corner set? Bale, Vokes, Williams, Chester, HRK all ready to push forward.
Mentioning Robson Kanu – a true Wales legend, massively celebrated by the fans last night, led by The Barry Horns. How he can’t get a game for West Brom I will never know.
There were chances early on, Bale shows his class, blinding the Serbian defence with his pace and tekkers and setting up Vokes with his fantastic long throw ins. Likewise, by the 17th minute Serbia had made a credible shot at goal which really gave Hennessey a shake up.
I thought Gunter showed excellent pace when running down the ball on the right but by far we were stronger on the left, linking Taylor, Ledley and Robson Kanu. They were bringing the ball end to end in just three passes. Allen ran his legs, got caught out a few times but his work horse ethic is admirable. Ramsey played out of his skin, he’s is clearly loving life back in Team Wales.
On the turn of the half hour Hal Robson Kanu persistently ran down a lost ball, at the feet of Nastasic, who was totally unaware of the threat he posed. HRK swiftly shifted the ball to Bale, around 20 yards out, who wasted no time in firing a left footed low ball towards Stojkovic who could do nothing but stand and watch it sail past him, 1-0 Wales.
For the rest of that half, Serbia rarely threatened, with Ramsey and Ledley absolutely shutting down the supply to Tadic who took a nasty blow to the nose, which troubled him for the rest of the game.
Bale notably kept things fresh up front, switching sides, adjusting position on the defence, and pushing forward on attack, receiving a ball from Ramsey in the 85th, a strike with the right bounced off the woodwork, denying Wales a more comfortable lead.
Not even a minute later, Serbia equalise out of nowhere, being given just a little too much space to come in from the right as Mitrovic rises to draw with a powerful header.
Coleman sought divine inspiration on the whistle, two points lost, but it’s not time to panic.
Welsh Girl On The Ball