Wales v Belgium: Chris Coleman blames referee for defeat

 

Wales manager Chris Coleman claimed the referee made two decisive wrong decisions in his side's 2014 World Cup qualifying defeat to Belgium.

Coleman contested the 26th-minute red card to James Collins and the free-kick that led to Belgium's second goal.

"Unless I've forgotten what football is about, it's a contact sport," said Coleman after the 2-0 defeat.

"It was not a red card - both players went in hard for the ball. And it wasn't a free-kick for the second."

Jan Vertonghen stepped up to hammer the free-kick beyond Wales goalkeeper Boaz Myhill to wrap up victory eight minutes from time.

Captain Vincent Kompany had put the dominant visitors ahead on the stroke of half-time in Cardiff.

Belgium looked the superior side from the start, but the early red card for centre-back Collins put them firmly on the front foot.

Collins sees red

  • James Collins became the 13th player to be sent off for Wales
  • The West Ham centre back was playing his first international since March, 2011

The centre-back lunged at Belgium full-back Guillaume Gillet, who was also off the ground as he went in for a loose ball in midfield.

"It came in a time of the game where we'd found our rhythm and we were troubling Belgium," added Coleman, taking charge of a competitive game for the first time.

"We were not in any trouble. When you're playing against a good team with 11 men it's tough, but when you're down to 10 men it's even harder obviously."

Wales were dealt a blow before kick-off when they lost midfielder Joe Allen to injury, joining an already significant injury list containing Craig Bellamy, Wayne Hennessey, Neil Taylor, Joe Ledley, Andrew Crofts and Jack Collison.

"Conceding just before half-time is always a tough one but I'm very proud of the players," said Coleman, who takes his side to face Serbia on Tuesday.

"I thought they gave everything they had, they really rose to the occasion. We had to be cagey because when we're down to 10 men we can't go gung ho and attack - it would have been a cricket score.

"I was delighted with their effort and endeavour and they kept going until the end. If they show that type of commitment when we've got out strongest team and 11 on the park then we're going to pick points up, no doubt.

"But we're disappointed not to get any points."