11:30am Tuesday 4th March 2014
MIDFIELDER Andy King is hoping Wales have learned from their past mistakes as they prepare for the Euro 2016 qualifiers with a friendly against Iceland tomorrow, writes Andrew Penman.
The match at the Cardiff City Stadium (kick-off 7.45pm) is the first for Chris Coleman’s side since the favourable draw for their next campaign.
Wales start their Euro 2016 qualifiers away to Andorra on Tuesday, September 9, then face top seeds Bosnia-Herzegovina at home on Friday, October 10, before welcoming Cyprus on the following Monday.
Coleman’s men face Belgium away on November 16, with the return fixture in June 2015.
And they complete their campaign at home to Andorra in October 2015.
The Euro 2016 finals are being hosted by France, who qualify automatically, and will be made up of 24 nations, an increase from 16 in the current format.
With the top two from each group qualifying automatically and the third-placed team earning a play-off spot King is confident of Wales’ chances.
But the Leicester City man knows that they need to shake off a reputation for being slow starters.
“It was exciting watching the draw come out and we feel like we’ve got a chance in that group,” said King.
“Belgium are obviously a very good side but you can’t be picky; there were a lot of good teams in that pot but overall we’re happy.
“It’s not to be underestimated but at the same time we feel that if we have everyone fit then we have got a good chance.
“It’s important that we can build on that on Wednesday night ahead of the new campaign,” he added.
“We have been slow starters in the past, which almost kills it for the rest of the campaign because you’re trying to play catch-up.
“Hopefully this time round we’ll have learned from that and we can have a good start and really put ourselves in the mix.”
King, who scored in the 1-1 friendly draw against Finland in November, is hoping to make an impact again tomorrow in the absence of injured star Aaron Ramsey.
“Obviously it’s disappointing for everyone that Rambo’s not here because you want your best players available and he was one of the best players in the Premier League when he was fit,” he said.
“But it’s a chance for someone else to show what they can do and whoever has that chance will be doing their best to make an impact and will hopefully help us get a win.”
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