Collins sees red and it's agony for Wales

HE'S OFF: Newport’s James Collins, left, gets a red card during tonight’s clash between Wales and Belgium after a tackle on Guillaume Gillet

HE'S OFF: Newport’s James Collins, left, gets a red card during tonight’s clash between Wales and Belgium after a tackle on Guillaume Gillet

First published in Latest Football South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

WALES 0 BELGIUM 2

RED continued to be the colour at the Cardiff City stadium last night as the red Dragons of Wales were left red faced by James Collins’ red card.

Wales’ road to Rio took a turn for the worse just 25 minutes into this opening World Cup 2014 qualifier as Newport’s Collins’ crazy lunge left the hosts a man light for well over an hour.

It wouldn’t have taken famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot to work out it was Collins ‘who done it’ as Wales’ hopes of a flying start evaporated with his reckless moment.

Collins’ dismissal merely capped a night that had already been going wrong even before kick-off.

While all the talk throughout the week was of continuity and playing to a system the players were used to, the last minute absence of Joe Allen to illness and injury seemed to force Coleman into a drastic and unexpected switch of shape and personnel.

Simon Church was a surprise call-up to replace the injured Craig Bellamy and Coleman produced a major shock in selecting Ashley Williams as an anchor in midfield with Darcy Blake partnering Collins for the first time at the heart of the defence.

It was certainly not what the Belgium coach would have been expecting and it was the hosts who started the stronger, Edwards volleying into the side netting after Bale’s neat header into his path evaded fellow Spurs man Jan Vertonghen.

Vertonghen had a tough job containing Bale and on 18 minutes a blistering run saw him evade the Belgian backline, but his cross was over hit.

This was an uncharacteristically fine start to a qualifying campaign with the width and imagination coming from Wales, but the ability to shoot themselves in the foot came to the fore on 25 minutes when James Collins was dismissed for a two-footed lunge at Guillaume Gillet.

Collins has endured a nightmare spell for his country after a loss of form saw him dropped for Darcy Blake midway through the last campaign and his unnecessary challenge will no doubt have infuriated Coleman.

It set the pattern for a remainder of the half dominated by Belgium, Chelsea’s enigmatic schemer Eden Hazard curling just wide on 35 as Wales dropped deeper and deeper.

Their chances were restricted to Bale led breaks and from one dart up the right Steve Morison’s goalbound effort was blocked by Gillet.

It was a decisive moment. Belgium weren’t making their number advantage count as they should but on 41 minutes the simplest of corner routines saw Dries Mertens’ near post curler expertly headed home by Vincent Kompany despite the attention of two defenders.

Things got no better after the break, a succession of Belgian attacks only failing to produce a second goal because of a lack of poise in front of goal, Alex Witsel, Romelu Lukaku and Vertonghen all hitting the side netting.

Wales were struggling to even get out of their own half but when they did it was Bale who again looked most likely, winning a freekick that he smashed towards goal, Thibaut Courtois tipping it behind only for Williams to come close with a header from the subsequent corner.

The Belgium first XI have gone for in the region of £150 million in the past few years and for long periods in the second half they were like a cat toying with a ball of wool, Wales tepid and under the cosh with the visitors vibrant and full of width and imagination.

A second goal seemed inevitable and duly arrived with eight minutes remaining when Spurs man Vertonghen cracked home a sumptuous freekick after Aaron Ramsey cheaply gave away a foul.

It was fantasy stuff from the hotly-tipped Belgians for most of the second half and in truth Wales were lucky to only lose by two as their campaign got off to a horribly familiar and inauspicious start.

Wales: Myhill, Gunter, Matthews, Collins, Williams, Blake, Edwards (King 78), Church (Robson-Kanu 70), Morison (Vokes 70), Ramsey, Bale

Subs not used: Brown, Davies, Ricketts, Vaughan, Earnshaw, Williams, Price Booked: Williams (83)

Sent off: Collins (25)

Belgium: Courtois, G Gillet, Vermaelen, Kompany, Vertonghen, Witsel, Dembele (De Bruyne 63), Fellaini, Mirallas (Lukaku 46), Hazard, Mertens

Subs not used: Mignolet, Ciman, Alderweireld, Van Buyten, Carnargo, Defour, Lombaerts, JF Gillet, Simons, Benteke

Booked: Vertonghen (88)

Referee: Stefan Johannesson (Sweden)

Argus star man: Eden Hazard

Comments (2)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

9:24am Sun 9 Sep 12

NakedDancer says...

Collins is a liability for Wales - not the first time he's gifted the opposition an advantage with stupid mistakes. A red card any day. He left his teammates an impossible task after just 25 minutes. A poor example for a senior player but he'll probably not bother turning up for Wales again anyway.

I also couldn't believe the biased TV commentators and Coleman blaming the ref and making excuses before, during and after the match.

Ok Wales haven't got strength in-depth but other limited countries are competitive by being organised, disciplined, committed and making their own luck - not just whingeing continually. No-one is fooled by passing the buck Coleman, find a way.
Collins is a liability for Wales - not the first time he's gifted the opposition an advantage with stupid mistakes. A red card any day. He left his teammates an impossible task after just 25 minutes. A poor example for a senior player but he'll probably not bother turning up for Wales again anyway. I also couldn't believe the biased TV commentators and Coleman blaming the ref and making excuses before, during and after the match. Ok Wales haven't got strength in-depth but other limited countries are competitive by being organised, disciplined, committed and making their own luck - not just whingeing continually. No-one is fooled by passing the buck Coleman, find a way. NakedDancer
  • Score: 0

8:29pm Mon 10 Sep 12

regescu72 says...

Hillsborough.
With the conclusion of the independent panel to be heard on Wednesday with also an expected statement of ‘regret’ from the Prime Minister on the same day, I am calling my fellow South Walians to boycott The Sun newspaper (I use newspaper lightly) until it issues a full retraction and apology.
Many of you will be aware of the tragedy that was Hillsborough where 96 Liverpool football fans lost their lives in 1989. Four days after the disaster The Sun published a story claiming Liverpool fans beat up police, urinated on the dead and robbed the dying/injured. This story was contrived to deflect blame for the inadequacies of the Yorkshire Police force and laid the blame squarely at the feet of the supporters present that day.
The distress caused to the families who had already suffered enough cannot be fully explained in a short letter, but anyone with a shred of decency or who has lost loved ones would understand to have people defiled with such lies is a complete disgrace. The tribalism over what football team you follow should put aside, 96 football fans went to watch their team and did not return home to their families.
The Sun has been boycotted on Merseyside ever since that day and what I am urging the good people of South Wales is to follow suit. I understand that it is the biggest selling newspaper in the UK and many of you love and buy it religiously. I implore you to broaden your knowledge and buy a different newspaper and hit that excuse for a newspaper where it hurts (money).
If you are not aware of the Hillsborough/ The Sun I strongly recommend you do your own research, read the facts and make your own judgement and imagine it was your family that had suffered that loss.
JUSTICE FOR THE 96!!!
Hillsborough. With the conclusion of the independent panel to be heard on Wednesday with also an expected statement of ‘regret’ from the Prime Minister on the same day, I am calling my fellow South Walians to boycott The Sun newspaper (I use newspaper lightly) until it issues a full retraction and apology. Many of you will be aware of the tragedy that was Hillsborough where 96 Liverpool football fans lost their lives in 1989. Four days after the disaster The Sun published a story claiming Liverpool fans beat up police, urinated on the dead and robbed the dying/injured. This story was contrived to deflect blame for the inadequacies of the Yorkshire Police force and laid the blame squarely at the feet of the supporters present that day. The distress caused to the families who had already suffered enough cannot be fully explained in a short letter, but anyone with a shred of decency or who has lost loved ones would understand to have people defiled with such lies is a complete disgrace. The tribalism over what football team you follow should put aside, 96 football fans went to watch their team and did not return home to their families. The Sun has been boycotted on Merseyside ever since that day and what I am urging the good people of South Wales is to follow suit. I understand that it is the biggest selling newspaper in the UK and many of you love and buy it religiously. I implore you to broaden your knowledge and buy a different newspaper and hit that excuse for a newspaper where it hurts (money). If you are not aware of the Hillsborough/ The Sun I strongly recommend you do your own research, read the facts and make your own judgement and imagine it was your family that had suffered that loss. JUSTICE FOR THE 96!!! regescu72
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree