Captain Ben Davies has told fans not to give up hope as Wales seek a final twist in the race to the European Championship finals in 2024.
Wales need to beat already-qualified Turkey in Cardiff on Tuesday and hope Croatia drop points at home to Armenia.
Otherwise Wales must go through spring play-offs, after Saturday’s 1-1 draw in Armenia saw automatic qualification slip from their hands.
“We are not panicking as a group. We still have a chance,” Davies said.
Davies, 30, will earn his 84th Wales cap as he seeks to lead his country to a third successive European Championships without having to go through the play-offs in March, which are at least guaranteed as a fall back.
In an unprecedented era of success for Welsh football since qualifying for Euro 2016, Tottenham Hotspur defender Davies was also part of the squad which qualified for the World Cup in Qatar – the first time the national team had been on that stage since 1958.
Leading the side in the absence of injured midfielder Aaron Ramsey, Davies said: “We’re frustrated, we’d like to be in a different position, but we are where we are.
“We can’t affect that now and it’s about giving all we’ve got in one last game and hope things go our way.
“Playing in major tournaments for your country is the pinnacle and that dream is still there.
“Wales isn’t the biggest country, we have probably punched above our weight for a long time, and when you do expectations are in front of you, people expect more out of you.
“But we’re still in with a shout of qualification, it isn’t doom and gloom just yet. If we don’t go through now we still have a chance of the play-offs because of past success. We’re not panicking as a group, we still have a chance.
“To qualify for three of the last four tournaments and still have the opportunity of qualifying for a fourth, we’re not a million miles away.
“As a group that’s something we should be proud of. It wasn’t something we did as a one-off, we maintained that success and want to keep it going. “
Davies missed his nation’s 2-0 defeat against Turkey in June, which followed a 4-2 home reverse to Armenia a few days before.
Those losses put Wales off the pace in Group D, but a 2-0 win in Latvia and an eye-catching 2-1 victory over Croatia at Cardiff City Stadium last month reignited their automatic hopes.
But after the slip-up in Armenia, Croatia took advantage to move into second place in the group behind Turkey with a comfortable 2-0 win in Latvia on Saturday night.
Croatia now have the advantage in the quest for the second automatic qualification place alongside Turkey, who need only a point in Cardiff to finish as Group D winners.
Davies said: “Ideally we don’t want to be going down that route (of play-offs), but of course we’re aware if things don’t go our way then that opportunity is there.
“We’ve got a massive game and football throws out some strange things sometimes and hopefully it can go our way.
“We’ve put in some amazing performances in Cardiff over the years, and we’ve had some special nights there. We have to hope we can do again.
“We can only control what ‘s in our control. On the night we’ll have to hope that some things go our way but we can’t give up hope.
“Our job is pretty simple, we have to win our game, that’s our focus. Whatever happens elsewhere will happen, but it’s down to us first and foremost. “