Bring on Belgium, says Ramsey


Published: Sunday 29th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Aaron Ramsey believes Wales can pull off a summer surprise against Belgium and take a huge stride towards reaching the Euro 2016 finals in France.

Wales coasted to a 3-0 victory over Israel in Haifa on Saturday night to top Group B in European Championship qualifying, with their next game at home to group favourites Belgium on June 12.

Belgium are ranked fourth in the world and made their own statement of intent on Saturday when they thrashed Cyprus 5-0 in Brussels.

The Red Devils will top the group by beating Israel in Jerusalem on Tuesday but Wales held Belgium in Brussels in November and Ramsey believes they can upset them again in the return fixture at the Cardiff City Stadium.

“We’ll be looking forward to Belgium,” Ramsey said after opening the scoring against Israel with his ninth international goal.

“It’s a tough game but we are full of confidence at the moment. We are top of the group, so why can’t we win the game?”

Arsenal midfielder Ramsey revealed his goal celebration when he pointed to the heavens was in honour of his grandmother who died last weekend.

“My nan passed away on the weekend, that’s why it’s been quite tough,” Ramsey said.

“My goal was for her. I’m just really proud I could score the goal for her. I know she’s looking down on me and I was glad I could score.

“I shut my eyes, got my head on it and thankfully it went in. It was a great performance and ‘Ginge’ (James Collins) said in the dressing room that’s maybe the best performance away from home he has been involved in.

“We looked quite comfortable and played with a lot of belief.

“It was a great performance from the boys, we came here believing we could get a result and we managed to do it.

“We kept ourselves in the game, defended really well and then we got the goal before half-time and it opened up a bit more.”

Ramsey’s goal preceded a double strike from Gareth Bale which took the game away from 10-man Israel in the second half.

Bale’s form for Real Madrid has been widely criticised in Spain but he has now scored six goals in his last six appearances for his country.

“He was unbelievable,” Ramsey said.

“Every time he comes away with Wales he puts on a performance. He got two goals himself and an assist, it was a good job for him.”

Wales now have 11 points from five games and manager Chris Coleman believes 20 will prove enough to claim one of the two automatic qualifying spots on offer.

“You’ve got to be really unlucky if you get to 20 and you don’t get to the first top two,” Coleman said.

“We’ve done some good work and we’re on the right road but there’s some distance left. We’ve got the chance to prove we are the best Welsh team since the one that qualified for the 1958 World Cup.

“I played in Welsh teams in 1994 and 2004 where we nearly did it and now we have the opportunity to go a step further.

“People say it’s a golden generation but we need to earn it. We’re doing it but we’ve not done it yet.

“But we want the chance to prove since 1958 this team is as good as anything that’s gone before.”

Published: Sunday 29th March 2015 by The News Editor

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