That has increased the pressure on England to win and the buildup to the match in Lens has featured Gareth Bale’s pugnacious stance towards England in which he claimed Wales were more patriotic and that none of Roy Hodgson’s squad is good enough to play in the Welsh side.
This annoyed Hodgson and his players and has ensured an even tenser battle between the home nations, one which excites Coleman, who said: “If I’m honest, I’d be looking forward to a bit of a dust-up, within the realms of … I’m not talking about the stupid stuff, I’m talking about a 100mph game of football, which is what we’re used to aren’t we?
“In international football you don’t really get that. There’s spurts, it’s very fast and then it slows down. It can be very tactical, like a game of chess. Maybe with these two we’ll see a reverse of that, maybe they’ll just go at it. If this is one of those games where it’s a fantastic good old-fashioned British battle, I’ve got no problem with that.
“You can’t control the result but you can control the performance. If somebody makes a mistake, or the referee makes a mistake, you can end up losing the game like that. All you can do is control your overall performance.”
Coleman is keen for Wales to defeat England having not managed to do so since 1984. “For us to beat the ‘big brother’ if you like, what an achievement that is, and we haven’t done it for some time. But all the way along we’ve said it’s not about that one game. Whether we need three points, four points, five points to go through, that is the desired outcome. How we get it, I honestly don’t care, as long as we get through. That’s all.”
“I know everybody Welsh is looking at England: what a game, what an occasion. And that’s all great. But it’s our job as a staff, and my job as a manager, to make sure our boys are ready but they’re controlled for that 90 minutes. It’s all about getting another result, another performance, that is going to help us get to where we need to be.
“We need to be in the last 16, that’s what we need. What we don’t need, just because it’s Wales v England, is making or getting sucked into anything that’s untoward, that we shouldn’t get sucked into, and making all the wrong headlines and not getting what we want. We’ve got two [group] games [left], two bites of the cherry to get what we need. But if we can take care of business on Thursday, brilliant, absolutely fantastic. We’ve got the opportunity to do that.”
Coleman is clear England go into the game with their future in the championship in the balance while there is little expectation focused on his side.
“They know more about tournament football than we do,” he said. “This is new territory for us. There is huge pressure on them, let’s have it right, they know that, not winning the first one. We’ve won the first one. The pressure for us is complacency, because we can in no way think our work is done. We’ve got so much to do, still, a lot to do. And when you’re up against a team as good as that, you’ve got to put out. Otherwise you’re not going to get what you want.
“So this is a big test for us, a great challenge. One that we’re looking forward to, there is nothing for us to fear, and that is nothing to do with England, that is to do with any opposition we play against, nothing for us to fear, we just have to go and put out.
“We’re here. At the end of the day, that means we are one of the better teams in Europe because we are at the finals. We just have to go and make sure we earn that responsibility of being at a major tournament.”
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