World Cup qualifiers: Wales 'loving' Serbia challenge - Ashley Williams

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Vokes hoping to win 50th Wales cap in ‘huge match’
World Cup qualifier: Serbia v Wales
Date: Sunday, 11 June Venue: Stadion Rajko Mitic, Belgrade Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Captain Ashley Williams says Wales will thrive under the pressure of facing their World Cup qualifying group leaders Serbia in Belgrade on Sunday.

Wales are third in Group D, four points behind Serbia and the Republic of Ireland with five games left.

Despite that gap, Williams does not believe Wales' qualifying hopes will be over if they fail to beat Serbia.

"I don't think so. We're still in a good position halfway through," said the Everton defender.

"I live for them [games like these]. As a team, we live for these nights.

"It doesn't always come off. I think we've seen that before in the past. But of late, this is the kind of game we love, when you're up against it in a different country, you're working hard and you're backing your mates up. Once you get in that groove, it's difficult to beat.

"We're very resilient and we're a gritty team. This is another opportunity for us to go out there and show our togetherness, put in a big shift and hopefully get the result we want."

The odds are stacked against Wales, who have travelled to Belgrade without a raft of first-team players.

Their talismanic forward Gareth Bale is the most notable absentee, suspended after a yellow card against the Republic of Ireland in March.

Left-back Neil Taylor is also banned, while forwards Hal Robson-Kanu and Ben Woodburn, midfielder Andy King and defender James Collins are injured.

Despite starting their campaign with victory over Moldova, Wales' bid to reach the 2018 World Cup has stalled following four successive draws against Austria, Georgia, Serbia and the Republic of Ireland.

Defeat in Belgrade in Sunday - coupled with an Irish win over Austria - would effectively end Welsh hopes of reaching next year's tournament in Russia.

Williams, however, is not entertaining such thoughts.

"It is a big game against a tough team, it's one we're preparing to win but, if we don't, we carry on because there are still games to go," the 33-year-old added.

"While there are points available, we'll try our best to go and get them.

"It will be tough. We're not planning for that [defeat]. We're playing to win but we do understand it will be a difficult game. For the last nine days, we've been working to win."

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