Leicester City were relegated in 2022-23, having won the Premier League title just seven years earlier

Fri, Mar 22, 2024
By editor


MANAGER Robert Page believes Wales are in a stronger position for Tuesday’s Euro 2024 play-off final against Poland than when they qualified for the 2022 World Cup via the same route.

Wales beat Finland 4-1 in Thursday’s semi-final to set up the Poland tie.

They defeated Ukraine in a play-off final to reach the World Cup despite several players not playing regularly.Asked if Wales are in a better position now that issue has been resolved, Page said: “I’d say so.”He added: “We are in a healthy position because we’ve got everybody playing.”The gap in the World Cup play-offs [between the Austria semi-final in March and Ukraine final in June] suited us because we had senior players who weren’t playing club football, in Aaron [Ramsey], in Gareth [Bale].”That gap helped us. If it had been four or five days later, we might have struggled a bit.”Now we’re in a different position because we’ve got a younger squad, a fitter squad, we’ve got players who are playing regularly.

One of Wales’ biggest problems in recent years has been their players’ lack of regular football at club level.That was one of the contributing factors to Wales’ disappointing performances at the World Cup, where they were knocked out in the group stage, and their inconsistency during Euro 2024 qualifying.However, with several players such as David Brooks and Kieffer Moore moving clubs during the January transfer window, Page now has the luxury of being able to choose from a squad full of match-fit players.The benefits were clear to see on Thursday as Brooks scored the opening goal in the third minute, while the likes of Moore and Daniel James – who netted Wales’ fourth – made an impact from the bench.”We know what we’ve got in the changing room, they’re a great group of lads and we did have a selection headache,” said Page.”We got off to the best possible start. We had to address a couple of things at half-time and were better in the second half.”It could have been five or six, but the message is that this is half-time.”We’ve now got a massive effort to go on Tuesday and we can’t wait.”Poland will be a tough game and we respect what they’re all about.”However, we know if we bring our A-game like we did against Croatia [who Wales beat 2-1 last October] and tonight, the result will take care of itself.”We’ve been there and done it, we know what we have to do, it doesn’t faze us. We’ve had a taste of major tournaments and we quite like it.”


22nd March, 2024.