Football: Wales manager Coleman calls for cool heads
It is 57 years since Wales last qualified for a major tournament, coincidentally beating Israel in a play-off to reach the 1958 World Cup, and the game at Cardiff City Stadium is sure to be an emotionally charged affair.
But with the Group B leaders on a nine-game unbeaten run in all competitions, Coleman is confident his players will not let the occasion get the better of them.
“We all know what the possibilities are and what it’s going to be like,” Coleman told his pre-match media conference in the Welsh capital on Saturday.
“There’s going to be a fantastic atmosphere, but we mustn’t get caught up in it because if you do that you stop thinking about what got you there in the first place.
“We’ll stick to the game-plan and I’m not bothered about the performance being remembered for loads of goals and lots of excitement.
“If that’s the case and we came out on top, great, but we’ll stick to what we’ve been working on and stay calm and focused.”
Coleman confirmed that midfielder Joe Ledley will miss out with a hamstring problem, but Nottingham Forest’s David Vaughan has been brought into the squad to compensate for the Crystal Palace man’s absence.
West Bromwich Albion centre-back James Chester, meanwhile, hopes to feature after returning to training following a hamstring injury of his own.
Gareth Bale will be central to Wales’ chances, having scored six goals in their seven qualifying games, including a bullet header in Thursday’s 1-0 win away to Cyprus.
“I was pleased for Gareth on Thursday because it wasn’t a night when we were at our best offensively,” Coleman said of the Real Madrid forward.
“But Gareth got his reward and he’s got more goals in him in this campaign.”
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