Rubin Colwill: No extra pressure on Wales after group rivals victories

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Rubin Colwill insists Wales are under no extra pressure to beat Belarus on Sunday after wins for World Cup qualifying rivals Belgium and the Czech Republic.

The quirk of a five-team Group E fixture list has forced Wales to play catch up on the road to Qatar 2022.

Belgium and the Czech Republic have both played four games, claiming 10 and seven points respectively, while Wales have three points from two outings and lost further ground to the top two on Thursday.

Estonia Belgium WCup 2022 Soccer
Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Belgium beat Estonia 5-2 in World Cup qualifying on Thursday (Raul Mee/AP)

Roberto Martinez’s Belgium won 5-2 in Estonia as Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku scored twice, while the Czech Republic were beating Belarus 1-0 at home.

“Every game is vital at international level,” said Cardiff midfielder Colwill, 19, who won his second senior cap against Finland on Wednesday.

“The other results obviously affect where we are in the group, but I don’t think they affect what we want to do.

“We want to try and win every game and try and beat every team.

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“The pressure is already there and we will focus on ourselves and not about other things.”

Wales have stayed in the Finnish capital Helsinki since their 0-0 friendly draw at the Olympic Stadium.

Rob Page’s squad will travel to Kazan on Saturday afternoon, the controversial choice for their World Cup qualifier with Belarus.

The Russian city is 700 kilometres east of Moscow and was selected to host the game by UEFA with Wales unable to enter Belarus by air due to sanctions against the Minsk government.

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Sunday’s game at the 30,000-capacity Central Stadium will be played behind closed doors.

“This is one of the things that happens in football, nothing ever goes 100 per cent right,” Colwill said.

“You’ve got to deal with it and get on with it.

“We’ll definitely all pull together to do the best we can in the circumstances.

“It’s obviously better with fans, for them and for us.

“It would give us a boost if they were there, but we’ll get on with it and try to win the game.

“I think they’re a good side who work hard for each other.

“But we’ve got a togetherness as well, and if we play how we can play then hopefully we’ll get the result.”

Colwill has had a rapid rise to prominence since making his Cardiff debut in February, just months after playing Academy football.

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He won a place in Wales’ 26-man European Championship squad and made his international debut against France in June.

Colwill has started only once for Cardiff this season after recovering from Covid-19, but the versatile teenager is already adapting to the demands of international football.

“Just training with players like Gareth Bale you take so much in,” said Colwill, who this week extended his Cardiff contract until 2024.

“It’s more structured and tactical than club football, so much on the line each game.

“Nobody wants to concede and make sure they’re still in the game. It’s a lot different to club football.”

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