World Cup qualifying: Wales can bridge points gap despite draw - Chris Coleman

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Aaron Ramsey 'didn't know' where Panenka penalty first happened

Boss Chris Coleman is confident Wales can still qualify for the 2018 World Cup after their 1-1 draw in Serbia.

Sunday's result in Belgrade, their fifth draw in Group D, left Wales four points behind Serbia and the Republic of Ireland with four matches remaining.

Coleman said: "I know people look at our four points with four to play... can we bridge that gap? 100% we can bridge that gap.

"We are looking forward to the challenges left in this campaign."

Coleman's side, without the suspended Gareth Bale, were heading for victory when Aaron Ramsey chipped the visitors ahead from the penalty spot following a foul on Sam Vokes.

But, as he did in Cardiff last November, Aleksandar Mitrovic denied Wales victory, netting a 73rd-minute equaliser.

Chris Coleman and Aaron Ramsey
Wales boss Chris Coleman consoles scorer Aaron Ramsey after the draw in Belgrade

Only the winners of the nine European World Cup qualifying groups will advance automatically to next year's finals in Russia, while the eight best runners-up enter the play-offs.

Wales' next qualifier is at home to Austria on Saturday, 2 September, followed by a trip to Moldova three days later.

There is then a double-header to finish, a visit to Georgia on Friday, 6 October, before a home fixture against the Republic of Ireland the following Monday.

If Wales are to have any hope of qualifying automatically, Coleman believes his side need to win all four of their remaining fixtures.

"I think realistically if we want to finish first... four wins," he said.

"If we want to take our chance in a play-off it's at least three wins and a draw. Mathematically, that's probably what we need.

"But Serbia have to go to Ireland and they have to go to Austria - they can't all take three points. The group is still very much in the balance.

"We're still chasing, but let's see what happens."

Aaron Ramsey
Aaron Ramsey's cheeky penalty gave Wales the lead in Belgrade

Coleman's side were without several first-team players, including talisman Bale, but Ramsey produced an excellent individual display.

"I had no doubt he would score, but I didn't see that coming if I'm honest with you," Coleman said about the Arsenal midfielder's audacious penalty.

"He's playing with such confidence at the moment. His overall performance was absolutely outstanding.

"He seems to thrive on that responsibility - it's not the first time he's run a game for us. His input was immense.

"If we didn't have him tonight, I'm not sure we'd have come away with what we did because I thought when we needed someone to keep the ball, hold it and give us a rest he did that.

"He was absolutely fantastic. And the penalty - the noise the supporters make here is incredible, but it didn't matter to him. Full of confidence and a fantastic finish."

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