WALES manager Chris Coleman has called on his players to stand up and be counted as they battle to keep their World Cup hopes alive in Serbia on Sunday night.

The Euro 2016 semi-finalists know defeat in Belgrade will leave their qualification chances hanging by a thread.

Coleman’s men are third in Group D – four points behind leaders Serbia and second-placed Republic of Ireland, who host Austria on Sunday afternoon.

Victories for Ireland and Serbia would leave Wales seven points off the pace with just four games left to play and on the brink of elimination.

And, without the suspended Gareth Bale, Coleman knows that his players will be up against it at the Stadion Rajko Mitic.

“You go to these places and it’s almost like there’s a stage in the game where there’s a power play,” said the national manager.

“All of a sudden the crowd start getting really rowdy, the opposition up the tempo for five or 10 minutes and they bombard you.

“You stand up to it or you duck it. There’s no third option.

“But I get excited about challenges like this. I did as a player,” he added.

“I used to like going away from home as a player and being under pressure as a defender because it’s exciting.

“You need to answer those questions, physically, mentally, tactically. You need to answer all those questions, and that’s international football.

“This will come in Belgrade and that’s what we’ll talk about with our players. You need to know that going into it.”

And, despite suffering a 6-1 hammering on their last visit to Serbia in 2012, Coleman is confident that he has the players to stand up to the toughest of examinations.

“In international football you’re in someone else’s country. It’s your country against their country. It’s not war but it’s what you stand up for and what they stand up for and, bang, it comes together,” he said.

“Something’s got to give, and it’s whoever’s capable or not mentally of standing up to it.

“It’s a funny old feeling when you travel a long way and you’re up against it.

“Sometimes you can feel a bit isolated, sometimes people go into their shell and, when that happens, bad things happen on a football pitch. You end up not succeeding.

“Other people say ‘this is 90 minutes, I’m going to enjoy this and it will make me better’. If you get through it, it makes you better, and that’s how we have to look at it.”

Coleman will be relying on captain Ashley Williams, Newport’s Chris Gunter and Arsenal star Aaron Ramsey.

“Ash will lead the group, along with Rambo and Chrissy Gunter – players who have been around the block,” he added.

“He'll know what we need from him going into this game.

“He's the captain for a reason, because he's a natural born leader. Will need to be that in Belgrade.”