Serbia draw 1-1 with Wales in World Cup qualifier

Wales remain four points behind Group D leaders Serbia, who stay top after second-placed Republic of Ireland were held 1-1 by Austria in Dublin.

It was a result that Coleman would have taken beforehand, however, and keeps Wales within four points of Serbia and the Republic of Ireland.

"The games will come thick and fast when the new season starts, and if we get a good result in Serbia we can take the momentum into those games".

"I think that scarred anyone who was involved in that game", Allen said. "I think it would be like that if I went back to Belgrade with my wife for the weekend!"

"I didn't see that coming if I'm honest with you", Coleman said.

"It's identical. It's what we thought as soon as he did it".

Four wins would obviously be the ideal scenario, but even as little as six points could be enough for Ireland to get one of the top two spots - in the last World Cup qualifying campaign, 18 points was enough to secure second place in all of the nine groups.

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The introductions of Daryl Murphy and Wes Hoolahan kicked the boys in green to life as they pushed for the equaliser in a chaotic finish as Jonathan Walters rescued what could be a crucial point with a stunning strike in the 85th minute.

"But I had no doubt he'd score because he's playing with such confidence at the moment, his overall performance was absolutely outstanding".

Aaron Ramsey stepped up to take the penalty and found the top corner with a stylish Panenka-like chip, sending Stojkovic the wrong way.

Ramsey has been involved in five goals in his last six worldwide appearances, scoring twice and assisting on three, to prove what an important player he is for Wales. We know it's not going to be straightforward, it never is in Tbilisi, but we have to hope the Georgians are going to be sound once again.

"We're not at that (must-win) stage yet, though obviously the further you get into qualifying the more pressure there can be to pick up points".

Wales pressed late on, finding gaps as Serbia searched for a victor, but long-range efforts was as good as it got in the dying minutes. To stay on course for Russian Federation this was nearly a must-win game, and certainly a no-lose match. Serbia have struggled to attract decent crowds in the past, but - with World Cup prospects looking positive - over 40,000 are expected at the Rajko Mitic Stadium this time. Anything less probably leaves them with too much to do. An Irish win would put them very close to at least a playoff spot.

Victory extends Julen Lopetegui's unbeaten record as Spain boss since replacing Vicente del Bosque just under a year ago, and the visitors looked to be set for an easy night in Skopje after a dominant first 45 minutes.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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