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Gunter: "The whole country is behind us"

11 June 2015

Right-back ready for massive Belgium clash

Royals full-back Chris Gunter could be a part of something very special on Friday night as Wales host Belgium for a crucial Euro 2016 qualifier in Cardiff.

Speaking to our official matchday programme late last season, our right-back talked openly about a blistering start to the Welsh qualifying campaign so far, the challenge of Belgium that lies in wait, and Chris Coleman's side's chances of making history.

“From now on, the next game will be the biggest," he told 'The Royal' after their vital win in Israel. "After the Belgium game in June, it’ll be the games in September and they’ll just keep getting bigger as it gets closer. But I don’t think there will have been as big a build-up for this Belgium game coming up for years and years.

“The winner of that game could potentially start to think about the prospect of qualification for the European Championships."

So far Wales have picked-up 11 points from their opening five qualifying matches and are locking horns with Belgium at the summit of Group B, separated only by goal difference.
“Right now we feel we can go into any game and play well. We’ve only conceded two goals, both from set plays, in the five games we’ve played so far. So we’ll be going into every game we have left, looking to win. And the Belgium game being at home, we know we’ll have the whole country behind us. It’s going to be a fantastic night.

“For so many years, we’ve said ‘If we were to start a group well…’ If the ball gets rolling, we’re tough to stop, and that’s the way it has proved so far. With every game that goes by the momentum builds. I don’t know how it builds, as players you just get the feeling, there’s something there.

“Even after the second game of the group when we drew with Bosnia in front of a sell-out, we then backed that result up with a win - and when we went away to Belgium we had 3,000 fans in the stadium but we had another 2,000 who had travelled without tickets. Its things like that that give you the feeling that something special could happen."

If Chris Coleman’s side can achieve victory against Marc Wilmots' men tomorrow, then they’ll find themselves three points clear and in pole position for the run-in with a nation-wide belief that they can realise the dream that is the country's first major finals appearance since 1958.

“The talk was about Cardiff and Swansea playing Premier League football, but now if you go back to Wales everyone’s talking about the national team. It’s so good to be involved in it. But as good as it is to be top at this half way stage, we need to make sure we don’t get even remotely carried away.

“As good as it is right now - and you have to enjoy nights like the one in Israel - we still have to focus on the huge amount of work that still has to be done.”

Gunter has played in every minute of the Welsh qualifying matches so far, and another member of the Royals squad, Hal Robson-Kanu, has also played an important part in Wales' campaign so far. Academy graduate midfielder Jake Taylor is also on standby for the game, which kicks off at the Cardiff City Stadium on 7.45pm on Friday.

Live coverage is available on Sky Sports 5, and you can also tune in to BBC Radio Wales and the BBC Sport website for live updates.

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