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Wales manager welcomes idea of a match with Roy Hodgson's England

Wales boss, Chris Coleman has welcomed calls for his Wales side to face England before next summer’s European Champi­on­ships to find out which nation really is best of British.

Wales are above England in the FIFA rankings for the first time in history and manager Coleman would like to test his team against Roy Hodgson’s side, who he called a juggernaut of the inter­national game.

Wales are ninth in the global table, but will incredibly go at least fourth with a win over Israel on Sunday, as well as confirming quali­fica­tion for France 2016. Just four years ago Wales fell to 117th, sandwiched in between Haiti and Grenada. England are currently 10th.

‘All of us would love to play England because they are a great team, a juggernaut in world football and I am sure if there’s a chance to have a friendly we would be right up for it,’ said Coleman.

‘A lot has been said about going above England in the rankings, who are a great team. But the rankings won’t get us to France. We can have a quiet smile, of course, but my mind is on France.’

Wales last played England in September 2011, losing 1-0 to an Ashley Young goal at Wembley in a Euro qualifier. Before that England won 2-0 at the Millennium Stadium and it was the same outcome in both the qualifying games for the 2006 World Cup. Wales have not beaten England since May 1984, when Mark Hughes scored the winner on his debut at Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground.

Should both countries reach Euro 2016 without the need for the play-offs, friendlies are expected to be organised for November, with Wales previously exploring the possibility of inviting Argentina for a glamour encounter at the Millennium.

England have confirmed a friendly with Germany next March, but slots will still be open in the build-up to the finals. Cliff Jones, the Wales and Spurs wing wizard who went to the 1958 World Cup, believes Coleman’s team have enough to beat Hodgson’s men, with Gareth Bale the defining factor.

‘Wales would beat England if they played tomorrow,’ said Jones. ‘They are such a team. They know their positions, they have confidence, and they have outstanding players — Gareth in particular.’

LK


 

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