Wales lucky at Euro 2016

Wales celebrate a goal during Euro 2016

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

Wales were “lucky” to reach the European Championship semi-finals, says Austria manager Marcel Koller.

The sides meet in a 2018 World Cup qualifier in Vienna on Thursday as the top two seeds in Group D.

Koller says “two or three” Austria players will be tasked with marking Wales forward Gareth Bale.

“We will not rearrange everything. Sometimes you need to be lucky as well. That is what we could see at Euro 2016 – Wales were lucky sometimes,” he said.

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

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

Wales reached the last four of Euro 2016 in France this summer, the first time they have progressed so far in a tournament in their first appearance at a major finals since 1958.

Chris Coleman’s side started their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign as Group D’s top seeds, and beat Moldova 4-0 in their opening match.

Austria won nine and drew one of their 10 games in Euro 2016 qualifying, but were knocked out of the tournament at the group stage.

They won 2-1 in Georgia in their first game and trail Wales only on goal difference.

When the teams last met in 2013, 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, but Koller is wary of concentrating too much on one threat.

“I don’t think Wales is only Bale. At the Euros they showed discipline in defence and were very dangerous,” the Austria manager added.

“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.”

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