As Wales prepare for one of the biggest nights of their recent football history, coach Chris Coleman says he believes his side can achieve "something special" and qualify for a major championship for the first time in 57 years.

Speaking ahead of the visit of Belgium in a Euro 2016 top-of-the-table Group B qualifying clash at the Cardiff City Stadium on Friday (12 June), Coleman was bullish about his side's chances of qualification.

Both sides are level on 11 points from five games, with Belgium leading the group on goal difference.

The pair currently occupy the automatic qualification places for next year's tournament in France and Wales' promising start has given the fans real hope that their team could reach a major final for the first time since the 1958 World Cup in Sweden.

The Welsh success, led by Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale and Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey, has meant the levels of expectation have mounted around Coleman's side.

However, Coleman says this success, and the attention it brings, is what Welsh football has craved.

"We can't complain, because we have been saying for a long time that we want to be playing in front of full houses, against the best teams, competing for something special - here we are. So, no complaints. Hopefully, it gets bigger and bigger. With every result we get, the next one is always a bigger one in the campaign so this is where we wanted to be, and we are embracing it," said Coleman at a news conference on Thursday (11 June).

But while all of Wales is optimistic that the national side can take one of the 24 slots in the expanded tournament, no-one is taking anything for granted because of so many past heroic failures that have left Wales always so near and yet so far.

There have been many excuses for their almost inevitable failure to reach another finals - poor managerial decisions, bad luck, perceived refereeing incompetence plus injuries and suspensions to key players at the most inopportune moments.

Everyone associated with Welsh football is aware of their previous failings, but Coleman is determined his team are a side that will create history.

"We don't have anything to prove to the team that came before us. We have got to prove to ourselves that we are good enough. I said before we had kicked a ball in this campaign that we are good enough, we have just got to look after ourselves, not the opposition. Concentrate on ourselves - which we have done," said the former Swansea, Crystal Palace and Fulham defender.

"We haven't always played well, but we have been difficult to beat, and getting a result has meant everything to us, in every game we have played. So, we haven't just got the talent on the pitch, these players have got the mentality off it. And that is why I think this group will do something special, I believe that."

Belgium, who are second in Fifa's world rankings and beat France 4-3 in a friendly in Paris over the weekend, are rightly among the favourites to lift the title next year.

With players such as Chelsea's Eden Hazard, Aston Villa forward Christian Benteke and Wolfsburg's Kevin De Bruyne, Belgium possess a wealth of talent to rival any team in the world.

However, they are not infallible, as Wales, world-ranked 22nd, proved with a 0-0 draw in Brussels last year.

Wales have grown in confidence and stature since then and the absence of Belgium captain Vincent Kompany coupled with the fact that Marc Wilmot's side conceded three second half goals to France, will give the likes of Bale and Aaron Ramsey cause to believe they can cause the visiting defence real problems.

"They are strong enough, of course, because they have got the players, and they have got the depth, they have got the quality, they are a good team. But, we speak a lot about Belgium - they need to concentrate on us, also, on Friday night. Because, we won't be just inviting you guys into our back-yard and saying just get on with it. We will have something to say, that is for sure," said a spirited Coleman.

Unlike other nights, this is not a do-or-die match for Wales, with four matches to play, but the feeling is that if they win on Friday they can go on to take a place in France.