Wales outclassed as Coleman’s wait for win goes on
WALES head into their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign on the back of three successive defeats after a dispiriting night in Llanelli.
The 2-0 defeat to a technically and tactically superior Bosnia-Herzegovina means new manager Chris Coleman has lost all three of his matches in charge.
There were excuses for the losses to Costa Rica, on an emotional night when the nation paid tribute to Gary Speed, and in the heat and humidity of the USA against Mexico.
But with the first qualifier against Belgium at the Cardiff City Stadium on September 7, time is fast running out for Coleman to find the winning combination that Speed had.
The supremely talented Belgians beat Holland last night and, with a trip to Serbia just four days after that first match, two defeats could spell the end of the campaign before it even gets going.
Wales lined up in a 4-1-2-3 formation at the Parc y Scarlets with Andrew Crofts sitting in front of the back four and Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey pushing forward to support Gareth Bale on the right, Simon Church on the left and central striker Sam Vokes.
With Cardiff City kicking off their Championship campaign tomorrow, Craig Bellamy was restricted to a second half cameo.
And Norwich City striker Steve Morison was rested as Coleman explored his attacking options.
Both Vokes and Church impressed with their movement and the pair linked up well with Bale, Ramsey and Allen.
New Liverpool signing Allen saw a long range effort pushed onto the bar by Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic early on.
But the problem was at the other end of the pitch where Wales continue to look far too vulnerable.
A talented Bosnian side found it far too easy to pass their way through the hosts.
Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko hit the bar with a header and it was no surprise when they took a deserved lead midway through the first half.
Roma’s Miralem Pjanic pushed the ball out wide to Miroslav Stevanovic on the right flank and Neil Taylor failed to cut out his cross.
Vedad Ibisevic was unmarked in the middle and had the easiest of tasks to slot past a helpless Boaz Myhill in the Wales goal.
Ibisevic almost added a second shortly afterwards as he seemed to dance his way through the whole Wales team before dragging his shot wide after he’d done all the hard work.
Bale saw a header well saved by Begovic and Ramsey sparked into life on the stroke of half time, beating three men with a great run, but Coleman’s side couldn’t complain at the scoreline as they took shelter from the driving rain.
The Wales boss opted to stick with the same eleven as the second half got under way and there was no improvement.
A weak header from Chris Gunter ceded possession to the Bosnians and in a flash the ball was in the back of Myhill’s net once again.
Stevanovic had acres of space to run onto the cross-field ball from the right flank and hammer it home in style.
Bellamy made a belated appearance just after the hour mark along with Hal Robson-Kanu and they were followed by Sam Ricketts and Morison but by then the match was lost.
Why Coleman didn’t go with his strongest team in the final match before the qualifiers and make changes at the break is a mystery.
He’ll just have to hope that things go a lot better in Cardiff next month.
Wales: Myhill, Gunter (Ricketts, 69), Taylor, Crofts (Earnshaw, 89), Blake (Lynch, 78), Williams, Allen, Church (Bellamy, 63), Vokes (Morison, 69), Ramsey, Bale (Robson-Kanu, 63).
Subs not used: Brown, Matthews, Ledley, Edwards, Fon Williams.
Bosnia-Herzegovina: Begovic, Pandza (Sunjic, 71), Spahic, Mujdza (Vrancic, 88), Salihovic, Pjanic (Sesar, 82), Zahirovic (Vranjes, 88), Stevanovic, Lulic (Besic, 63), Ibisevic (Svraka, 75), Dzeko.
Subs not used: Audukic.
Booked: Pandza Referee: Marco Borg (Malta)
Argus star man: Ramsey