Wales 'desperate' to earn place at World Cup finals

Wales manager Chris Coleman 
Wales manager Chris Coleman  Wales manager Chris Coleman 

WALES manager Chris Coleman admits there will be a "desperation" around his Euro 2016 heroes when they start their World Cup campaign.

Coleman's side have a Cardiff homecoming against Moldova on Monday night after their summer march to the Euro 2016 semi-finals gripped the nation.

But Coleman admits Gareth Bale and company cannot afford to relax on their achievements with the World Cup qualifiers starting so swiftly after their time in France.

"What happened at the European Championships was way beyond mine or any of our dreams," said Coleman.

"The experience was incredible. I couldn't describe the feeling, especially when we came home.

"If you are a manager at a club and things are going well, it's a great feeling because you've got the whole city behind you.

"If you're manager of your country and it's going well, you've got a whole nation behind you - a whole nation proud of you.

"For the World Cup I have to use the word 'desperation'. We need to feel like that.

"Every result we get is massive for us, just as important as the last one.

"It doesn't matter who we're playing against. It's all about accumulating enough points to get us where we need to be."

Coleman was part of the Wales team which famously lost 3-2 to Moldova in 1994 just a few years after the country had established its independence following the break-up of the old Soviet Union.

It was the biggest victory at the time in Moldova's short football history and, even though there is a massive 154 places between the two countries on the FIFA rankings with Wales sitting in 11th, Coleman is taking nothing for granted.

"Moldova lost eight of their games in the Euro 2016 qualifiers so their record in terms of wins or the world rankings is not great," said Coleman.

"But they don't concede many goals, they lose 1-0 or 2-1 and are always in the game.

"They are physical and aggressive and well organised. If we think we can roll up and it will go our way and be over by 60 minutes, it may not be.

"I sat here before the Andorra game two years ago when everyone thought it would be an easy night.

"I said it would not be that easy and so it proved. We did not play well and got lambasted after the game, but we also got three points and that got us on our way."

Wales are without injured pair Aaron Ramsey and Jonathan Williams and Coleman has concerns that some of his players are short of match fitness after extended post-Euro 2016 breaks.

Skipper Ashley Williams has started only one Premier League game following his move to Everton and Neil Taylor has made just one EFL Cup appearance for Swansea.

Hal Robson-Kanu has not played at all with his wait to find a new club only ending on Wednesday when he joined West Brom on transfer deadline day.

"We have had to modify the workload of one or two," said Coleman.

"We have to look at the minutes they have performed, that is a constant worry when you get players from their clubs.

""People will look at us differently now, teams will come here and be happy with a point when maybe that wasn't the case before.

"It's a different challenge, a good one, and it's exciting for us. How do we handle it?

"But I've not seen anything this week that's different to what I saw from the last three or four years - and it's always been about us maxing out to get results."