Coleman takes positives in defeat

08 September 2012 06:47

Chris Coleman was delighted with his Wales players despite seeing them begin their World Cup qualifying campaign with a 2-0 defeat against Belgium.

Goals from defensive duo Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen ensured Marc Wilmots' men made the perfect start to their Group A campaign in Cardiff. James Collins was sent off for Wales in the first half.

Coleman said: "I'm very, very proud of the players first and foremost. We knew it was going to be a tough game. Coming into this game at full strength would have been tough but we weren't at full strength and then we go down to 10 men."

He added: "One or two questionable decisions went against us to say the least but the players, to a man I thought, were absolutely magnificent. They dug deep, showed a lot of passion, a lot of organisation. We had to."

Injury-hit Wales showed a steely determination in the early running against their opponents but their good work was undone when James Collins was shown a straight red for a reckless lunge on Guillaume Gillet after 25 minutes.

Coleman was unhappy with Collins' sending-off, believing referee Stefan Johannesson reacted too rashly to the West Ham defender's challenge on Guillaume Gillet.

"For me it's not a sending-off, it's not," he added. "There were one or two challenges on our boys as well that went unnoticed. The free-kick at the end that they scored from wasn't a free-kick so maybe the referee just had one of those nights."

Manchester City skipper Kompany, who headed Belgium into the lead with a near-post header from Dries Mertens' corner, believed the dismissal of Collins made life harder for the visitors.

"I sometimes wondered if it would have been best for us because we struggle against teams who are very organised and just sit behind," the defender told Sky Sports 1.

"Wales were very organised, fighting for every ball and they just made it tough for us. It was a very tricky game."

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

England 2 0 0 6 6
Belgium 2 0 0 6 6
Tunisa 0 0 2 -4 0
Panama 0 0 2 -8 0
Last updated : 10:18