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Wales boss Chris Coleman dismisses Koller’s ‘lucky’ jibe

Wales celebrate a goal during Euro 2016

Gareth Bale leads the celebrations as Wales reach the semi-finals of Euro 2016

Wales boss Chris Coleman has dismissed Austria manager Marcel Koller’s claim Wales were “lucky” to reach the European Championship semi-finals.

Koller made the comment ahead of Austria’s World Cup qualifier against Wales in Vienna on Thursday.

“A lot of teams went into [Euro 2016] with big reputations but couldn’t handle the pressure – our players handled the pressure,” said Coleman.

“I wouldn’t put our semi-final achievement down to luck.”

The Wales manager added: “We had a little bit of luck here and there, we had bad luck, like everything else. The reason for our achievements is because we’re a good team.”

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Marcel Koller guided Austria to Euro 2016

Despite an impressive Euro 2016 qualifying campaign in which Austria won nine and drew one of their 10 games, Koller’s men were knocked out of the tournament itself in the group stage.

In 2018 World Cup qualifying, Austria are Group D’s second seeds and, having won 2-1 in Georgia in their first game, they trail top seeds and current leaders Wales only on goal difference.

Coleman’s side opened their campaign with a 4-0 thrashing of Moldova, their first competitive game since reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

“Sometimes you need to be lucky as well. That is what we could see at Euro 2016 – Wales were very lucky sometimes,” Koller said.

“During the Euros they were lucky that a match did not turn in another direction.

“I think that helped the Welsh team get a really good portion of self-confidence.

“Nobody really expected the Welsh team to be in the semi-finals before the European Championship.”

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When the teams last met in 2013, Gareth Bale scored one goal and created another as Wales triumphed 2-1 in a friendly at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium.

The Real Madrid forward now has 24 goals in 62 appearances for Wales, and Austria will be paying him special attention in Vienna.

“We saw during the Euros he [Bale] can win games on his own,” Koller said.

“We will not only have only one player chasing after him – we will have two or three players in close vicinity to disturb him as soon as possible.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37564536