Euro 2016: Wales can progress from Group B, says Chris Coleman

By Rob PhillipsBBC Wales football correspondent in Paris
Chris Coleman
Chris Coleman guided Wales through qualifying to reach their first major tournament since 1958

Manager Chris Coleman is certain Wales can progress from Group B in Euro 2016 after being drawn with England, Russia and Slovakia.

Coleman, who previously admitted he was not keen on facing England, is glad the British "derby" is not Wales' opener.

Wales will face Slovakia in Bordeaux on 11 June, England in Lens on 16 June and then Russia in Toulouse on 20 June.

After Saturday's draw, an optimistic Coleman said: "Can we get out of the group? Absolutely 100% we can."

The encounter with England is one of the stellar ties of the group stage and, despite his pre-draw desire, Coleman will relish the chance to take on Roy Hodgson who, as then-Blackburn manager, sold defender Coleman to Fulham in 1997.

Potential starting XIs

Potential Wales starting XIEngland potential startign XI

Coleman said: "My point (before the draw) was about all the hype that is going to surround it and we must not take our mind off why we are there.

"We have to get out of the group. It is not just about beating England, it is about getting out of the group and accumulating enough points to progress.

"We have England, they are a great team. I have total respect for Roy and we will be up against it.

"But they will also be up against it because, if we perform the way we can, it will be a tough game, that's for sure."

Coleman was relieved England was not the first game, saying: "At least we can have a little taste of it.

Group B's representatives
Representatives from all four of the nations drawn in Group B met in Paris at Saturday's draw

"You know if England hit the right notes they have the capacity to beat anybody.

"It is nice the first game is not England. It is going to be a firecracker, we know that. So it is nice we will see what it is like before we get to that."

Coleman described Slovakia, who include Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel, as a good counter-attacking side and noted they beat Spain during qualifying.

It will be Wales' third game against Slovakia, having been hammered 5-1 at the Millennium Stadium in the 2008 Euro qualifier before exacting revenge with a superb 5-2 win in Trnava - Craig Bellamy in exhilarating form, scoring twice.

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Coleman also noted the tie with Russia is a chance to avenge the heart-breaking play-off defeat in the European play-offs in 2003.

Wales drew 0-0 in Moscow, before falling 1-0 at home - one of their infamous qualification near misses.

The Wales manager said: "My son texted me 'payback'. I remember that feeling when we missed out. We never made it and it was a horrible feeling.

"We are a lot further down the line now. We have it all to look forward to. Russia, Slovakia and England, I am looking forward to all three games."