Aaron Ramsey says coming up against England at Euro 2016 would hold no fear for Wales, expressing his confidence that Chris Coleman’s side will rubber-stamp their qualification away to Bosnia-Herzegovina next month.
Ramsey was guilty of missing one of Wales’s best chances – a first-half header – in Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Israel that prolonged the wait to qualify for a first major tournament since 1958. Had Cyprus denied Belgium victory later on Sunday Wales would have still been assured of their Euro 2016 place but Eden Hazard’s late winner means they need a point from their remaining two matches, away to Bosnia and at home to Andorra.
On Saturday England became the first side to book their place alongside the hosts France at next summer’s tournament with a 6-0 win in San Marino. England have also won their last four encounters with Wales, including two in qualifying for Euro 2012 in which Ramsey played, and have not lost to their neighbours since 1984.
Wales’s form in qualifying placed them above England in the Fifa world rankings for the first time last week and Ramsey would relish coming up against some of his Arsenal team-mates such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott, who scored twice in San Marino. He said: “I think there will be a bit of banter between me and some of my team-mates at Arsenal. It is always a great game, committed game. I have been involved in two before. So yeah why not? If it does happen it will be a great game.
“We feel we can go to Bosnia and grab all three points. That’s the confidence in this team at the moment. Hopefully we will be able to do that and have a successful end to what has been a great campaign.
“This squad has got a lot of experience and a lot of the players play for top clubs around the world and have a lot of caps. We haven’t been in this position before but I think our club experience will help us. We have done a remarkable job so far so we won’t feel too down. We are still top of the group with a couple of games to play, we’re looking forward to that.”
Wales have scored nine goals in qualifying so far and Gareth Bale has had a hand in eight of them – scoring six and chalking up two assists – prompting fears Wales are too reliant on the Real Madrid forward. Against Israel Bale could not find a away through and Ramsey believes Wales have learned a valuable lesson when it comes to breaking down lesser opponents while also lauding the defence, who have conceded only one goal in their last seven matches.
“We will just have to be more clinical in front of goal really. We created a few opportunities but we didn’t put the ball in the back of the net which is disappointing for all the good play that we did,” Ramsey said. “It is important in these sorts of games to be patient, move the ball quickly, side to side, and to wear them down. The gap will open up sooner or later, you just have to take that opportunity and then the game will open up and take care of itself.
“The defenders have had a great campaign. It makes it a lot easier for us. Even the midfielders and strikers are all putting in a shift defensively, we are trying our hardest to defend as a team. But credit to the defenders, they throw their bodies on the line and Wayne Hennessey has made good saves throughout the campaign, they make it easier to play in front of.
“The fans have been unbelievable home and away. They travel in their numbers and sometimes it is a bit easier playing away from home because teams are trying to attack and score, which is a bit more of an open game.”