Chris Coleman wants Wales to enjoy crunch clash against Republic of Ireland
Manager Chris Coleman feels the Wales football team are in their golden era and has called his side to enjoy their final World Cup qualifier game against the Republic of Ireland on Monday night.
The 47-year-old guided Wales to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 in France, and they are now on the cusp of qualifying for their first World Cup finals since 1958.
The game against Ireland could have several implications as Wales could qualify for Russia 2018 automatically, enter in a play-off, or miss out on the global tournament altogether. Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Coleman insisted that his players should savour the moment regardless of the result versus Martin O'Neill's side.
He said: "It is a golden era because they (the players) proved that it is a golden era. They were labelled a golden bunch of players before we qualified (for Euro 2016) and I fought against that because they had not earned that tag. But they have earned it now. This group of players have made a difference, and they have gone one step further than anybody else that has come before them."
Regardless of this, Coleman has urged the team to maintain their concentration against the Irish as any wrong step could cost them dear after months of hard work. Wales will be without Gareth Bale, who has been sent back to Real Madrid to recover from his hamstring injury, and this leaves Aaron Ramsey as the main creator in the forward department.
Apart from reaching the playoffs, Wales also have the motivation of qualifying for the World Cup automatically, should leaders Serbia drop points in Belgrade against Georgia. Coleman opted for a new 4-4-1-1 formation in the previous game versus Georgia, and it will be interesting to see whether he will revert to his preferred three-at-the-back formation against the Irish, who play two up front.