Coleman - Defeat was good prep
Dragons boss looking ahead to Belgium clash
Last Updated: May 28, 2012 3:55pm
Chris Coleman: Wales boss looking ahead to World Cup qualifier against Belgium
Wales boss Chris Coleman insists his side can take a lot from their 2-0 friendly defeat to Mexico ahead of their opening 2014 World Cup qualifier against Belgium in September.
The Dragons were defeated by two Aldo De Nigris goals in New Jersey as they struggled with the oppressive heat and humidity of the mid-afternoon kick off and the lifeless playing surface at the home of the New York Giants and New York Jets NFL teams.
With the fixture coming at the end of a long season and the likes of Gareth Bale, Joe Ledley, Darcy Blake and Wayne Hennessey all sidelined by injury, it was always likely to be a game too far for Wales.
But progress over the course of the season has been encouraging, with a rise from 117th to 41st in the FIFA world rankings raising hopes that Wales can challenge for a spot at the next World Cup, despite the death of Gary Speed in November.
Coleman now has just the August friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina to hone his preparations ahead of their meeting with Belgium in their Group A opener on September 7th.
And he believes whatever the likes of Eden Hazard, Thomas Vermaelen and Marouane Fellaini can throw at his side, it will not prove a more difficult challenge than facing the Mexicans.
He said: "It was disappointing to lose my first game in charge but we knew it would be tough before we kicked a ball.
"We don't like to lose but we can take a lot from this week. The lads have trained well and we have a lot of young guys in the squad.
"Belgium are a good team but they won't be any better than Mexico.
"Belgium are a very good side, no disrespect to them, but we wanted this game as Mexico are one of the top teams, they are in the top 20 in the world. We knew it would be tough and they did not disappoint us."