Welsh supporters would have woken up this morning wondering how they are not in a World Cup playoff. Wales had 67% possession, 11 shots on goal, 10 corner kicks – all these statistics surpassing that of the Republic of Ireland.
Yet here they are, licking their wounds over that 1-0 defeat and wondering what the future will hold. After Chris Coleman guided his side to European Championship semi-finals in 2016, World Cup qualification would have been expected but now they will have to deal with a number of friendlies over the coming months against sides who have already secured their ticket to Russia in 2018.
Ultimately, this raises questions over Coleman’s future. The 47-year-old former Fulham manager took over from his late friend, Gary Speed, in 2012. Despite a disappointing qualification campaign for the 2014 World Cup, he guided his country to their first major tournament since 1958 when he secured qualification for Euro 2016.
Last night, in the immediate aftermath of the devastating loss, Coleman admitted that he is undecided on whether he will stay on as Wales boss but Sky Sports is reporting that Gareth Bale and other senior players in the Welsh camp had a meeting with Coleman to convince the 47-year-old to stay on.
It is certainly a ringing endorsement, especially when you consider the high-quality of manager Bale has played under in his time with Real Madrid.
Coleman’s contract expires next summer but it is reported that discussions between Coleman and the players took place at the stadium last night and at the team hotel in Cardiff after the game. FAW Chief Executive Jonathan Ford is understood to have told Coleman that he wants him to commit to a new contract and hopes to sit down with the 47-year-old before their friendly fixtures scheduled for November.