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Wales boss 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

Chris Coleman has dismissed claims by Austria manager Marcel Koller that Wales were “lucky” to reach the European Championship semi-finals.

The Wales boss said his side made the last four in France because they were “a good team”.

He also had an apparent dig at Koller by claiming a lot of teams went into Euro 2016 with big reputations but “couldn’t handle the pressure”.

Wales and Austria meet in a 2018 World Cup qualifier in Vienna on Thursday.

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Marcel Koller guided Austria to Euro 2016

Wales beat Slovakia and Russia in the group stages of Euro 2016 to qualify ahead of England for the last 16.

They then beat Northern Ireland 1-0 and Belgium 3-1, before losing 2-0 to eventual winners Portugal.

In contrast, Austria suffered a disappointing tournament, going out in the group stages despite winning nine and drawing one of 10 qualifying games.

They lost to Hungary and Iceland as they finished bottom of their pool, though they managed a goalless draw with Portugal.

“Wales were very lucky sometimes,” said Koller. “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.”

Wales, ranked 10th in the world by Fifa, are top seeds in their 2018 World Cup qualifying group, with Austria, ranked 26th, seeded second.

Coleman’s side opened their Group D campaign with a 4-0 thrashing of Moldova, while Austria started with a 2-1 victory in Georgia.

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

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

“We saw during the Euros he 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