06/09/2012 Sport Wales


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In just over 24 hours, Chris Coleman's Wales began their 2012


qualifying campaign at the Cardiff City stadium against Belgium. We


will hear from both camp, stay with us for all the build-up. Coming up


tonight: We go inside the Welsh camp, and


they are most definitely up for it. Fresh start, fresh challenge, as


you can imagine, we are all raring to go. Sport Wales travels to


Belgium to assess their called golden generation, with the help of


Philip Albert. If we don't qualify with the set of players we have at


the moment, I don't think we will qualify ever for another World Cup.


And we look back at one of Wales's greatest triumphs over Belgium.


We had six or seven players who could score a goal in any game in


the world, whatever game it was. Plus, I will be joined by former


Wales international, Iwan Roberts. First, let's hear from the man


hoping to make his treatment it has been 54 years since Wales reached a


major tournament, can Chris Coleman and captain, Aaron Ramsey, end that


long wait? A lonely old job, international


management, as you watch Wales fall to a third straight defeat against


Bosnia last month, Chris Coleman must have thought, how do I get


this going again? Now he has to, a nation might not expect, but it


certainly hopes for a good start to this campaign against Serbia on


Tuesday, but first Belgium tomorrow. We have a huge game on Friday,


great challenge for us. We have got a good squad of players. We are


missing certain players, but, nevertheless, we have had a good


three or four days together. The preparations are going very well.


They need to be, because Friday's going to be a big challenge, we


have to be ready for that. The last two games we have played,


the four goals we have conceded were preventable goals, individual


errors that are preventable, we can't afford that on Friday.


vital is it you get the group off to a good start, not just in terms


of putting Wales in a good position in the group, but because you know


the criticism will come after those two games, if you are still looking


for that first win, it will only intensify? And, so? You can't think


what if this happens and that happens, or I will be criticised. I


will be criticised any way. My job you are damned if you do and damned


if you don't, I don't give a monkeys what people say about me.


If that is arrogance, so be it. I will do it as I see fit. The


expectations is high. People expect us to qal fight. If you look at the


teamser up against, Croatia, Belgium, Scotland, Macedonia. I was


speaking to Roy Hodgson last week, he called it the group of death,


he's right, the competition is pretty big. I'm looking forward to


the challenge, it will be a tough one. I'm confident in the ability


we have in this team, and you know the last few results haven't been


great for us, but we watched the video back at the last game. We


didn't play great. But we still created a few opportunities, and on


another night they would have probably gone in. We played bad


that night. Hopefully we can get off now to a good start in the game.


And know what we are capable of doing. At the end of the last


campaign wrecks definitely showed what we are all about and how well


we could play. So we need to get back to that. We will be a match


for anybody, hopeful leave we can get off to a really good start


tomorrow night. It is a tremenduously talented Belgium side,


these guys, everyone is talking about the Belgians. They are not


talking about Wales so much, the talent in your team. Does that


help? People aren't bigging Wales up, are they? When people talk


about Wales, they talk about Aaron Ramsey, Craig Bellamy, Gareth Bale,


now they will talk about Joe Allen, because he has gone to Liverpool.


We won't be successful with four players, we have other good players.


We need all the players to be good when they take to the field. I know


all about Belgium and their players. Even before this season, where a


number of their players are playing in the Premier League, and people


are getting a bit carried away, as they do. It changed my thinking


about Belgium, they are a good team. That is irrelevant, it is about us,


how we approach it. How we prepare ourselves, and are we brave enough,


strong enough as a group, individually, collectively, to get


a result on Friday? You have had a lot of challenges in your career


already, would you say, though, that what you are about to embark


on is perhaps the biggest challenge of your career? I think, first and


foremost, it is my biggest honour to manage my country, when you have


the hopes of a nation on your shoulders, that's what comes with


it. I thrive on that, the excitement, we don't know what is


going to happen. We know we have the possibility to do something


special, if we can get it together. Sometimes you are up against a good


team. The good thing about football is, I think that it is not always


the best team that wins, it is the best team on the day. We have to


make sure that is us on Friday. Irwan Roberts, thanks for joining


us. Here we are, on the eve of the World Cup qualifying campaign,


Belgium, first up, how positive can we be? I think we have to be, with


the squad of players we have got. We have one or two injuries, we are


playing against the best side in the group. But, take the last three


games away, where we haven't been at our best, for one reason or


another. But this is it now, this is what it is all about. It's the


start of the qualifying campaign. A difficult game, but one, I'm sure,


that we can go into, as I say, with the players that we have got, and


hopefully get something from the game. Belgium first up, Serbia away


next Tuesday, are they the fixtures Chris Coleman would have wanted?


Probably not, ideally Chris would have probably wanted, no disrespect,


probably either Macedonia, or Scotland at home, to start the


campaign. That would give you a better opportunity of hitting the


ground running, and getting three points. Looking at both games, I


think that the minimum that we ask for is four points, because it is


imperative we get off to a good start. If we lose the first couple


of games as we did in the last qualifying game -- games against


Montenegro, it is hard to go from there. Chris Coleman says he


doesn't mind criticism and won't change his approach if things go


badly in the first few games, what is he like, does he put pressure on


himself? I think every manager does. He has taken over at a difficult


stage. He has taken over from his good friend, Gary Speed, who filled


us all with hope going into this campaign. He will prepare his team


properly, that is the one thing he will do. Once they cross the line,


it is then down to the players. Iwan, we will talk more shortly I


am now to take -- time now to turn our attention to the called golden


generation of Belgian footballers, so many times in the Premier League.


We went to Belgium to learn about If we don't qualify with the set of


players we have at the moment, I don't think we will qualify ever


for another World Cup. If the magic happens, they have a stop team.


It's no option to fail, we have to make it to Brazil 2014. We all know


the cliche that you can't name more than two famous Belgians. In a


sporting context that is untrue, think of the cyclists tennis, even


the man in charge of the Olympic Games, Jacques Rogge is Belgian.


They are all becoming household names. Back in the 1990s there was


a sole trailblazer, Philip Albert. They train with extremely good


players, when they come back for the national team they are good


players. That is a big plus for us. The company is a make of their own.


Philine is a perfect player, I think, for the Premier League.


Dembele is becoming stronger and stronger every year, in every


position, they have very talented players. After a decade of failing


to qualify for world cups and European Championships, Belgium has


a squad capable of making it to Rio. How have they created such a deep


pool of talent. Wefrpblgts had a very good Olympic campaign, --


had a very good Olympic campaign in 2008, Belgium made it to fourth


place. We saw it coming that there was a very talented group of


players, and most of them were playing in Holland, now you have


them at Tottenham, Vermol at there, and Manchester City. Ten play in


the Premier League, only five are based here in Belgium. Key to the


development of the golden generations, has been their


decisions as youngsters to relocate over the homeland. The academies


for youth in Holland and France is much better for them. People like


Demele. In Belgium, the clubs aren't as rich as in Ajax and


Amsterdam. The young players are tempted to move away. The important


question for Chris Coleman and Wales is whether Mark Wilmots can


construct a golden team from his pool of talent. He's not a friend


of mine, but I appreciate him for what he Z he worked very hard.


Respect for him, and I really hope that he will get some results.


have lots of nice players, excellent players, who earn massive


amounts of money. But in the national team, except for the win


over the Netherlands in August, they haven't performed to their


standards. Ultimately, win or lose against Wales, the Belgian youth


will be judged on one simple criteria. If we don't qualify with


the set of players we have at the moment, I don't think we will


qualify ever for another World Cup. It is no option to fail, we have to


make it to Brazil 2014, we have to win against Wales. Changing sport


now, and from one golden generation to the goldrush of the Paralympic


GB team. Here is all the latest medal news from London 2012.


Congratulations to Aled Shaun Davies, he followed up a bronze


medal in the shot putt, by winning the discus in the F42 category.


is hard to put it into words, it is surreal, it was very emotional and


really nice to give something back to that crowd. Show that the four


or five years of hard work I have put into this, really does pay off.


And it has been worth it, totally worth it. It has been a memorable


games for Ellie Simmonds, who trains in Swansea. She claimed a


second gold medal in the 200 IM, in a world record time, and taking


bronze in the 50ms freestyle. Paul Davies took a medal in the table


tennis. I have had lots of ups and downs, injury, stress, heartache,


worry, I have had a lot of ups and downs. But to have this around my


neck, obviously it has been worth every minute of it. Jenny


McLoughlin, and Olivia Breen took bronze as the T454X 100 replay


people. Mark Colbourne took silver in the C1 time trial, taking his


tally at the games to three medal. Newport's Liz Johnson added to


Wales medal haul, by winning a swim in bronds, in the SB6 100ms


breaststroke. And Beverley Jones, won a bronze medal in the F47


discus. Remember, you can keep up-to-date


with all the latest Paralympic news, by clicking on the website.


Back to the big game now, we have heard from Belgium's called golden


generation, the Wales manager and captain, but when they leave this


dressing room, can this current crop of Welsh players deliver on


their promise? You know what it has been like with


Wales down the years. Optimisim at the start of a campaign, deflation


by the end of it, when hope has usually long gone. But the quest to


reach Euro 2012 did end with a flurry of wins, goals, and a


suggestion that things might play out differently this time. It is


important to get off to a good start. Not like the last campaign,


chasing, we want early points on the board. Fresh start, fresh


challenge. As you can imagine, we're all raring to go. It is


probably the best shape we have been in, going into a qualifying


group, certainly since I have been involved, maybe for longer than


that. Injuries have again reeked havoc, Neil Taylor fracturing his


ankle, to join Craig Bellamy and others on the sidelines. Not what


you need with the talented Belgians in town. The last transfer window


was dominated by Belgian players, we are under no illusions that they


will be a strong siefpltd there is a couple of Belgian -- side, there


are a couple of Belgian lads in the side from West Brom, they are great.


It will be a good test for us and them. Fellani and Dembele I have


come up against, two of the best midfielders I have played against


in the Premier League. If I'm playing, I will have my work cut


out against the likes of them. They have strengths in company, Vermalen


at the back, they have a good spine to their team. Another problem, of


course, overcoming the lack of recent goals. Three defeats, five


conceded, and none scored, is the story of life under Chris Coleman


so far. We all need a goal, we all need a


goal to win the game. Obviously first and foremost we need to make


sure we don't concede any, with the players in the team we have a


chance of scoring,. Hopefully Friday night we can get another


goal. We haven't scored in the last couple of games. That can happen,


it works out at international football, it goes on longer,


because you don't have game every week. It is not too long. We scored


four against Norway, not so long ago. We are Kev dent, -- confident,


come Friday we will do everything we can. 1998, the last time Wales


has qualified for a large championship, the nation overdosing


since then on failure. footballer, or young kid, that is


what they target and what they dream of reaching, and achieving.


It is no different for everyone here. We're all massively proud to


represent our country. We will be even more proud if we are able to


get this fantastic nation into a World Cup. It is about time, you


know, like I say, it is never for the want of trying. But, like I say,


we are probably in as good a position as we have been for a


while, to give it a good go. Hopefully we can get off to a good


start and really kick on, and set the ball rolling.


Withstand, positive noises coming there from the Welsh camp, Gunter


ready to give it a go, Joe Allen raring to go? You would expect to


hear that as well. There is a lot been said about this qualifying


campaign. They need to be judged now on the performances that they


put on the pitch. If anything's got to go with what we have heard and


what the boys have said, then, I would think Belgium are in for a


really tough night. We have to talk about the injuries, starting


perhaps with Craig Bellamy. How much of a blow is that? It's


massive loss down that left hand side, you ask any defender what


don't they like playing against, it is pace. And Craig's got bags of


that. Neil Taylor, out for the season, but who will replace him in


the Wales team? I would think that Chris will go for experience, and


you look at the options he has got. Matthews, Gunter, they can both


play there, I think he will go with Sam Ricketts, loads of experience


at Premier League level and international level. Formation-wise,


we have played 4-3-3 in it the last games and been really successful


with it. I can't help that would be playing into the Belgian's hands,


that is a very attacking formation for me. And with the pace that they


have got in their side, they could cause us numerous problems, if we


carry on with the 4-4 will have 4. -- 4-3-3. I wouldn't be surprised


if in this we go for a 4-5-1. We have caused teams in the last 18


months, going forward with pace, putting crosses into the box. That


is what we want to see tomorrow night. Thank you. We will talk more


in a bit. But now time to step away from the present, and look back at


the archives, during the 190, Wales played Belgium six times in seven


years. -- 1990s, Wales played Belgium six times in seven years.


Now to look at Wales's greatest- ever performances in international


football. March 1993, and Wales are sat mid-


table in the qualifying group to reach the USA. In their first game


they had been hammered 5-1 in are you mainia. They avoided slipping


up against the Pharaoh islands and Cyprus. After failing to get one


shot on target in Brussels, they suffered another defeat.


In the days of two points for a win, Belgium arrived in Cardiff as group


leader. Six games played, six wins. For Wales, losing would end their


hopes of going to America. This game now was a crunch game.


Obviously Belgium six games on the trot, team full of superstars at


the time. Nearly as many as they have got now. Prudon as the


goalkeeper, with Neville, one of the best goalkeepers in the world,


Albert, and Shifoe, one of the best players in the world. When we


played him previously in the European Championships, he had a


lot of the ball, we couldn't get the ball off him. But managed two


good results against him. We went into the game with confidence,


knowing we could beat him. Probably they thought they were going to


beat us. Wales had some of the best forwards in Europe. Along with


Sanders, there was Ian Rush. Rush. And Manchester United


provided Mark Hughes, and a certain 19-year-old playing out of his skin.


Gigsgigs. Still gigsgigs.


-- Giggs. Now was the moment for the selection of the young star to


start game for the first time. try to get all the best players on


the pitch, and find a system that would suit the best players. With


five defenders at the back, Wales were certainly a robust team.


them into Sparky and he did the rest. I used to wins sometimes some


of the tackles he used to go in for. We knew if we worked hard and kept


the ball out of of the net, we had six or seven players who could


score a goal in any game in the world. When you were playing well,


and the crowd were behind us in Cardiff. It was brilliant to play


in. I remember getting tripped up on the edge of the box. I'm not


sure, I got a picture in my head now, I'm not sure if I walked into


the wall and I looked back and I saw Ryan Giggs standing over the


ball with his hands on his hips, like he does now. I looked over my


shoulder at the net thinking he's going to score it. I'm not sure if


I was in the wall, I walked back to the ball, and had a look at the


view he had. And I knew he was going to score. As he has shown,


over the years. It wasn't a fluke, he flipped it over the wall. Great


goal, that got us going. We clawed our way back into the group. And


the Belgium game was a big win, we started to think, we get a couple


of results here and now, we could be going into the last one, maybe


not needing to win. In their last group match, Wales found themselves


one game away from qualification for the World Cup, but lost to


Romania. I always considered it the biggest game of the season. If I


was playing for Wales. Never mind if I was playing for Liverpool


against Manchester United, in the league. You know, Wales against the


Faro Islands was a bigger game for me. Playing for your country.


Happiest days of my football career, really. It's all about 2014 now.


And it's time to return to Belgium to find out how the visitors are


preparing for the start of their World Cup qualifying campaign.


It seems you are no-one in the Premier League at the moment if you


haven't got a Belgian at your disposal, they are the glamour boys


of Europe, but it wasn't all that ways. This is the home of ant we


were Football Club, and much like the Belgian national side, it has


seen better days, the hey day was in Mexico 1996. But this new crop


of Belgian footballers could be on the cusp of something equally


special. All the players playing for the big clubs. There is some


pressure now. We have the edge to perform on the pitch. We feel the


pressure. We have to win those games. If you see the names where


everybody plays, the form everybody has, we have to do something this


time. Every time there comes a generation, I think now we have a


very good generation of very good players, talented players. A lot of


players in England and the Premier League. At the moment we are a very


good group. Two or three years w a lot of talent and the results


coming, at the moment, yeah, the results are there. We hope to start


good. With players from the Bundesliga, and la league ga, as


well as those in the UK, they have outstanding contributors in every


area of the pitch. The pressure is there, it is a long time since we


qualified for beige tournament. We have to have a good start, it is


good to win the first big games, it will be difficult, Wales is a big


country, they have good players. Croatia is the same, it will be


difficult, we are also a good team and respected also I think in


Europe. While they are undoubtedly talented, this squad has won


nothing yet. They failed to qualify for Euro 2012, unfortunately for


Chris Coleman and Wales, they have just beaten the Dutch, and Rio is


their stated target? We have to qualify, we are young and talented,


the time has come. From the 1 players who will play on Friday,


you will see they play all for big clubs, and all good players. The


pressure is there from the audience and from the supporters. No excuses.


Everyone thinks we are going to qualify, this is the pressure. For


to qualify to be first, and the second have to play the games


against the other second one. It will be difficult but OK. We have a


good group. We hope to win. Confidence is evident around the


whole squad, but manager, Mark Wilmot, seems capable of keeping


his young stars in check. TRANSLATION: We go through the pre-


match video analysis before the match, I give them a sheet with the


attacking and defensive qualities of each player. It is an aide


memoir, I have done it at club level. Now we are concentrating on


Wales, it is not necessary to put too much pressure on the players.


We will get on the flight, and prepare everything calmly for the


game. Their only perceived weakness is at rightback, and Gareth Bale's


name is mentioned by all. He's an amazing player, he played a few


games with him. I think he's the best player for Wales. We have to


take care of him, I think. If we can eliminate him, I think we have


a good chance to win. What an unbelievable number of stars at the


Belgian's disposal, with that a lot of pressure? You look at their


players, they play all over Europe, for all the big clubs. Household


names in this country. The favourites in the group, I think it


is fair to say. We have given them that target. They have given that


target to themselves, and rightly so. The nation expects, they expect


to qualify. But that does bring its own pressure. I'm sure they will


feel the pressure tomorrow night they are coming out here. They will


be expecting to win. I'm positive that Chris and the lads have had a


week or so together, in preparation for this game. That's the longest


Chris has had to get his players and team prepared for any of the


three games that he's been involved. I'm sure they will be ready for him.


You sound positive, predictions then? I will go for a Wales win, a


win at home, we have been talking about this opening game for many,


many months now the Cardiff city stadium will be rocking, full of


Welsh fan, I think we can cause an upset, I will go for a 2-1 Welsh


win. Here is hoping. Thank you very much. Don't forget you can watch


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