Belgium vs Wales: Chris Coleman stresses Wales deserve to be in the mix after they send a message to Group B rivals

A 0-0 draw in Belgium saw Wales continue their impressive start to the European Championship campaign

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The Independent Online

Wales manager Chris Coleman says their Euro 2016 rivals must take them seriously now after holding World Cup quarter-finalists Belgium to a goalless draw in Brussels.

Belgium dominated large parts of the game at the King Baudouin Stadium but Wales held firm to remain unbeaten in Group B and extend their run over the last 13 months to only one defeat in nine games.

Wales have eight points from four Euro 2016 qualifiers and Coleman insists they will resume their campaign in Israel at the end of March as serious contenders to end the country's long wait for an appearance at a major tournament.

"We're nearly halfway through the group now and we're in there, it's not a fluke after four games and we've played two of the best teams in Belgium and Bosnia," Coleman said.

"Belgium took us seriously and teams need to take us seriously because we are serious about qualifying in this campaign.

"We know the pressure is on us and the other teams will be chasing us down with six games to play.

"But if you look at the average of teams who qualify they get 1.8 points per game and we are on the right track.

"There's still a lot of hard work to be done but we're not a nation to get carried away - and we won't."

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Coleman believes Wales are where they deserve to be after a 0-0 draw in Belgium

Belgium are ranked fourth in the world but even with Eden Hazard at his creative best they could not find a way past a Welsh defence brilliantly marshalled by skipper Ashley Williams and superbly supported by centre-back partner James Chester.

Nicolas Lombaerts struck a post in the first half and Wayne Hennessey denied Nacer Chadli with a smart save, but Wales rode the storm out well before Gareth Bale was back in defence to produce a goal-line clearance deep into stoppage time.

"Baley's won us games before and after the game all the questions are about him," Coleman said.

"But when you need him at the other end of the pitch he's saving one on his own line.

"He's grown as a leader and that comes with being in stadiums and playing in front of 50-60,000 people.

"He's used to that spotlight and pressure and it helps other players to stay calm in that situation."

"Belgium are a great team, they try to move you around and we knew we had to ride our luck a little bit.

"But we were stubborn and tried to stay in the game as long as we could."

Belgium 0 Wales 0 match report

Coleman - who said he did not see the incident between Marouane Fellaini and Joe Allen which left his midfielder with a bloodied nose - admits is a source of frustration not to be playing for another four months after building up Euro 2016 momentum with wins over Andorra and Cyprus and draws against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Belgium.

"If I'm honest if you come away from Belgium with a point you want another game in four or five days," Coleman said.

"It's a shame we've got to wait until March but we'll enjoy this result."

PA

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