Wales can qualify for World Cup finals says Diego Forlan

By Rob PhillipsBBC Wales football correspondent in St Petersburg
Diego Forlan (right) was team-mates with Ryan Giggs at Manchester United from 2002-2004
Diego Forlan (right) was team-mates with Ryan Giggs at Manchester United from 2002-2004

Diego Forlan believes the current Wales squad could achieve what his former team-mate Ryan Giggs failed to do and reach the finals of a World Cup.

Wales' best world ranking of 10th means they are one of the top seeds for the European section of Saturday's draw for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

And former Manchester United and Uruguay striker Forlan believes Wales can then qualify from their group.

"That was a disappointment because Ryan Giggs was a great player," Forlan said.

"Despite all the things he won with Manchester United he did not have the chance to play in a World Cup.

"But in this case you see Wales are getting stronger and stronger. Maybe they will have the chance."

2018 World Cup draw seedings

Forlan, who won the Golden Ball after being voted the best player at the 2010 World Cup, said the current Wales team - spearheaded by Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale - is now a force to be reckoned with.

"People are excited to see every game they play. The stadium in Cardiff is beautiful to see and to see a national team with a country behind them is really nice to watch," Forlan said.

Though some may see Wales as one of the preferable draws from pot one, Forlan refuses to play down the achievement of Chris Coleman's squad.

"Everything is equal, there are no favourites. It is really tough to play football, it does not matter what national team is in front of you," Forlan, 36, said.

"There are always surprises and many good players in Wales, most of them play in the Premiership which is one of the best leagues in the world. You have to respect that."

Former Atletico Madrid striker Forlan, a key part in Uruguay's run to the semi-finals in South Africa in 2010, said he had no doubt Bale would settle at Real Madrid.

He added: "Gareth is settling really well. He is a great player, really happy in a great club. I did not have any doubt he was going to do really well and he is showing it."

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