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Monday, March 25, 2013
Williams not giving up on World Cup hope

ESPN staff

Ashley Williams believes Wales can still qualify for next year's World Cup, adding that they are also good enough to cope without Gareth Bale.

• Bale trains ahead of Croatia clash

Chris Coleman's side picked up just one win in their opening four qualifying matches. However, Friday's 2-1 win against Scotland means they are now seven points behind joint group leaders Belgium and Croatia - who Wales face on Tuesday.

While the Swansea defender admits it is a tough ask for his team to qualify for the finals in Brazil, he feels the win against Scotland gives them a glimmer of hope.

"It keeps it alive for us. We have never said we could do anything after the start we had but we have always got that hope," he said. "We just need to keep picking up points. There are plenty still to play for. We are on a decent run of form, which bodes well. We did well in the friendly the other day [a 2-1 win over Austria], so we have got two wins on the trot now.

"Scotland are a good team, and to go there on a night like Friday was massive. It showed the character of the team that we were able to come back from a goal down. But we just need to keep it going. We have got Croatia on Tuesday and that will be another tough one. The win over Scotland was a very important for us. We need the points and there was a little bit extra riding on the game because it was against one of the Home Nations. It was massive."

Gareth Bale was forced to come off at half-time during the Scotland clash due to a combination of a stomach bug and an ankle injury, but Williams believes Wales have proved they are capable of securing a result without the Tottenham man.

"We showed we can cope without Gareth. He dug in at Hampden and gave it a go but you could see he wasn't himself. He tried for 45 minutes but it wasn't right," Williams said. "But after that we came through and no-one can say we are a one-man team. We were a goal down and came out for the second half without him. But we got the result and everyone played their part.

"That's the best I've seen from a Wales team. That is us at our best. That is how we want to play. We kept the ball well and didn't let Scotland settle on it. We won it back early and that is what we are supposed to do. We dropped off a bit towards the end of the half and they scored but in the second we controlled it pretty well. If we can play like we did for the first 25 minutes for a full game, we'll be a match for anyone."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report




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