Wales’ World Cup aspirations lie in tatters after an inept display in Novi Sad gifted their hosts the easiest of wins. It was just Serbia’s second victory in 12 games.
Coleman’s men are now on a run of five straight defeats and the optimism generated during the latter stages of Gary Speed’s reign has vanished. Even at this early stage of the Group A campaign, it is difficult to see Wales reaching Brazil in 2014.
The current crop of Wales players, including Premier League talents such as Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen, had been rated as having the best chance of reaching a first major finals since 1958. Such hopes now appear forlorn, but Coleman remains bullish over Wales’ chances of getting to Brazil, despite their shambolic performance and has made it clear to his squad it is time to step up and prove their quality.
“When I came into the job I was told it would take a certain amount of time to get this team to where it needs to be,” he said. “I was told at the start that this is the golden generation. They had just won four out of five games. But I am under no illusions. When you perform like that you have to take responsibility as a manager. I will be ready for the next game against Scotland next month and I will make sure the players are.”
Wales now sit at the bottom of Group A, four points adrift of the sides at the top. But Coleman believes the draws played out between Belgium and Croatia and Scotland and Macedonia, while his side were being thumped in Serbia, at least give Wales some crumbs of comfort.
“We have to look at the bigger picture,” he said. “I think we have been given a gift in that the other sides in the group have drawn.”