Feature: The State of the Welsh national team- after the tragic death of Gary Speed

After the tragic passing of a true football great Gary Speed, Welsh football was left with a huge hole to fill.

Under Speed Wales played attractive, free flowing and effective football. The players were motivated and enjoyed playing their football as much as the fans were watching it.

However when all that changed, the FAW were tasked with finding a way of continuing the success Speed had brought to the team and fans.

The FAW had their list of candidates, and chose Coleman. A little sceptical from the start, but happy to give him a chance, we went into the first game of his tenure against Costa Rica, Gary Speeds testimonial. It was an extremely emotional night and the 1-0 loss was a side story to the tributes to Speedo that night.

The next game, an intercontinental friendly against Mexico on neutral soil in New York. From the outset we were under pressure, we lacked any conviction in attack, something that has become a trend under Coleman, and were bombarded with Mexican attacks.

The defence held out well and kept us in it until the last but it was a sign of things to come, as we offered little threat but hung on in to keep the score down and could hold out hope for a brighter next game.

Next game, Bosnia-Herzegovina, another 2-0 loss, Bosnia played some good football to create chances forcing Myhill into some early saves and took less that 25 minutes to break us down. An early second half goal made it comfortable for them, however the preformace was good, we still lacked the ability to break them down, even with some of our best players on show.

Leaving us with the question, will Coleman get it right for the start of the World Cup qualifiers…..The answer was a resounding no!

Much was said about the class the Belgium had when they came to Wales; Hazard, Kompany, Vermaelen etc. Despite this we were still full of hope.

Allen was a late pull out, and would have certainly started, and we were without Bellamy.

We started brightly, and contained their play and passed the ball but without any end product.

This changed when Collins, who had started well-dealing with the multi million pound attack Belgium posses, threw himself into a needless tackle and saw red. Belgium took over, however it took a corner to break us down, Kompany rising high against, questionable defence to score.

Happy to go in only one down as we would taken a draw from the game, but concern as to where any equaliser was going to come from. At times in the second half we passed the ball well, with Bale and Ramsey linking up, but never really threatening. We looked to be doing well and threatend in patches from Bale free kicks and the occasional corner.

However when we looked to be in the ascendancy, Coleman made what where in my opinion negative changes Bringing off Steve Morrision when he was in need of a partner to help him out up top.

The changes did little to improve our fortunes as in the final ten minutes of the game, after our attacking spark had died out, Vertonghen hammered a free kick in to seal it for Wales.

This was a game that, even with 10 men, we could still have got something out of, if the tactics and set up had been adapted after losing a man and we had found a way to best use the players at our disposal.

Colemans most recent game in charge was away to Serbia, Wales finally scored goal under the new management, a wonder free kick from Bale, however conceeded SIX down the other end, making a hat-full of defensive mistakes in the process. Shambolic, embarrasing and all in all hard to watch for any Welsh fan.

A decent first ten soon pettered out into nothing as Serbia grew quickly into the game. One and two came in quick succession, and when Bale struck to make it 2-1, we were fooled into thinking a comeback may be on. This didn’t happen and Serbia got one 10 minutes later.

Two half time substitutions, both defensive, proved usless as the second half was ‘men against boys’. Wales could not keep the ball for any period of time, and Serbia got another 3 to enforce their dominance. By the time the 6th went in, the players minds were already on the plane home! Our first competitive goal under the new regime, only to completely crumble in defence!

Our next game is at home to a Scotland side, who in our last meeting we out played and tore apart 3-0 at home. Somehow I can’t see the same result.

Coleman has been out of work for a while, has no real understanding of international tactics and hasn’t applied a single thing he has learnt from the 3 friendlies prior to the opening of the WCQ. In my opinion he lacks ideas and the understanding of the game needed to make effective changes.

I fear we will have to endure another qualifying campaign of under achieving with a squad full of top level players, untill Coleman either gets the push or walks away leaving the fans rueing another campaign that promised so much and delivered so little.


Written by Luke Bradwick

Follow him on Twitter @Bradwick_

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