Euro 2016: Wales 'need to win' against Cyprus - Ashley Williams

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Wales captain Ashley Williams still 'kicking himself' for his miss against Bosnia-Hercegovina
Euro 2016 qualifying: Wales v Cyprus
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium Date: Mon, 13 October Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru & online

Captain Ashley Williams says Wales must win their Euro 2016 Group B qualifier against Cyprus in Cardiff on Monday.

Wales top Group B after September's 2-1 win in Andorra and Friday's 0-0 home draw with Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Cyprus, meanwhile, beat Bosnia 2-1 away, but lost their latest qualifier 2-1 at home against Israel on Friday.

"We know especially because we drew the game [against Bosnia] that we need to win this game," said Williams.

"If we want to do anything in the group this is one we must win.

"We've done a little bit of analysis [on Cyprus]. As players we get our own footage to go through, so we are aware of them.

"We know that they are a dangerous team clearly, with what happened in Bosnia."

Cyprus manager Charalampos Christodoulou
"Wales may not be a very big name in world football, but they are a very strong team and we will have to be careful."

A crowd of more than 30,000 turned up for the Bosnia match - a record for a Wales match at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Swansea defender Williams says he should have scored when he headed a Gareth Bale free-kick over the bar and aims to make amends against Cyprus.

"I'm desperate for another chance like that on Monday," said the 30-year-old. "Hopefully there will be a different outcome this time."

Another big crowd is anticipated, with around 15,000 tickets sold so far.

Former Wales striker Iwan Roberts believes there is a renewed enthusiasm and optimism among the Welsh public for the team's hopes of reaching the finals of a major tournament for the first time since 1958.

"Hopefully the fans have heard and saw how much we needed them," said Williams, "When your legs are getting a bit tired... the fans just gave us that extra lift.

"It was the best crowd that I've ever played in front of for Wales, definitely. They were behind us the entire game."

Ashley Williams went close for Wales Bosnia-Hercegovina, but headed Gareth Bale's free-kick over
Ashley Williams went close for Wales Bosnia-Hercegovina, but headed Gareth Bale's free-kick over

Perhaps another reason for the new wave of positivity stems from the extra places available at Euro 2016.

The finals in France will be made up of 24 nations, an increase from 16 at the most recent tournament in 2012.

The top two teams in each of the nine groups will reach the finals, along with the best third-placed finisher, while the remaining eight third-placed teams go into play-offs in November 2015.

If Wales beat Cyprus, they will go into their next qualifier in Belgium on 16 November top of the group.

"I think it's an open group, as we've seen in the first couple of fixtures," said Williams.

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Chris Coleman post Bosnia

"We can only look after ourselves and try and get our points and then we don't have to worry about what everybody else is doing."

Meanwhile, Cyprus manager Charalampos Christodoulou insists they will not man-mark Wales talisman Bale.

The Real Madrid forward was shackled by Bosnia's Muhamed Besic for large parts of Friday's goalless draw.

"We are not playing against only Bale, the whole Wales team is strong," Christodoulou said.

"For a team like Cyprus, there are no easy games. All our opponents are favourites. Wales are a top-class team.

"Wales may not be a very big name in world football, but they are a very strong team and we will have to be careful."

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