Ashley Williams Insists Wind Of Change Can Lift Wales To Russia

Wales captain Ashley Williams is adamant the team’s momentum is changing ahead of their crucial final four World Cup Qualifying games.

Wales are four points behind leaders Serbia and Republic of Ireland in Group D and host Austria on Saturday evening at the Cardiff City Stadium, knowing defeat will dent their claims of reaching Russia next summer.

However, Williams, who has led Wales in all six of their qualifiers, believes the tide is turning in the favour of Chris Coleman’s side after their draw with Serbia in June – a result achieved without their regular inspiration Gareth Bale.

“We haven’t had momentum in this campaign and that’s been frustrating,” said Williams.

“But I do feel it’s changed after the Serbia game. It was still a draw, but it felt like a good draw. It felt like the start then.

“If we can win this one, then we can keep this momentum going for the last three games.

“That will be the plan, to pick up a bit of steam to finish the campaign.”

Bale is set to return to the Wales team for the arrival of Austria though the team will be without Joe Allen and Neil Taylor who are suspended.

Despite this, the Wales skipper is confident his side can pick up all three points on Saturday but isn’t convinced they have to win all of their remaining four qualifying games to reach Russia next year.

“Everyone’s saying we must win, so we understand it’s quite simple now – we must win,” Williams added.

“I’m not sure if we need to win all four, but we certainly want to get off the mark against Austria.

“They are a very talented team with some good individual players, they pass it well and their movement is very good.

“But we’re not too worried about Austria because we feel if we play our game, we can win.”

The 33-year-old added: “There’s always that fear we’re a one-hit wonder. But I don’t think this team is because we’re actually a good team.

“We’re a better team than at the Euros, with that international experience of qualifying and going to the tournament. What we don’t have compared to then is momentum.

“I’d be disappointed if we didn’t qualify. We wouldn’t be failures but in this campaign we would have failed.

“It would be as disappointing as the ones before — maybe more so because we know we have it inside us.

“Before, we always had doubts. With the way the group sits at the minute, if we don’t qualify it’s down to us.

“It’s important for all we achieved last summer that the team and the Football Association of Wales build on it and qualify for the next one.

“Whether we get to a semi-final again might be a different story.

“But it’s important for us not to be one of those teams like Greece and Denmark who never did it again.”


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