Ireland boost prospects with Austria draw but Serbia equaliser dents Wales hopes

Rosalie Stanley
June 16, 2017

Ramsey netted from the spot in the World Cup qualifying draw in Belgrade, updating the famous spot-kick of Czechoslovakia great Antonin Panenka by lifting the ball into the corner rather than down the middle of the goal.

Vladimir Stojkovic, the Serbia goalkeeper, made a pig's ear of dealing with Ben Davies's long pass and ended up bringing down Ramsey just outside the area when he realised that he was unable to shepherd the ball out of play.

Ramsey's 35th-minute Panenka penalty could not have come at a more apposite venue. 'I felt calm, I felt confident in the situation. Thankfully it went in.

Chris Coleman knows he will never get Serbia out of his system no matter what happens in Belgrade on Sunday night.

Asked about the consequences of missing in that fashion, he replied: "That is the risk you take. Three wins and a draw would probably see us clinch a playoff spot".

"I'm gutted we couldn't hold on to the win".

Despite Ireland's 2-2 draw with Serbia in Belgrade, it is goals difference and not head-to-head record that counts when try to separate teams on the same amount of points at the end of the group stages.

But Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic came back to haunt Chris Coleman's men when he produced a calm finish in the 73rd minute after his late header in Cardiff last November.

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Aleksandar Mitrovic equalised 17 minutes from time to keep Serbia four points ahead of third-placed Wales with four games to play.

"Every team will miss Gareth Bale, saying that Isco has done a decent job in replacing him in the Real Madrid side, but for Wales you can not replace him", added Savage.

Coleman singled Ramsey out for praise, saying his "input was immense", but the 26-year-old applauded Wales' collective effort in front of passionate Serbian support.

"But I don't think that would have been in Aaron's thinking".

But Ramsey said the performance without Gareth Bale will boost confidence going into September's double-header against Austria and Moldova when the Real Madrid forward will be back.

"Gareth is going to be a massive miss for anybody in the world, whatever team. I know we can get a result because we've gone to hard places before and done it". We have a load of youngsters with us as well, which I think has stepped up the quality again.

It leaves Wales still in with a chance, although they will need to win at least three of the remaining four games.

"The experienced players in the squad like Ramsey, Joe Allen and Ashley Williams will help the youngsters and they won't feel overawed because we've seen the spirit that Welsh team have got and I'm sure that'll carry the younger players through".

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