Bore draw as Wales play their last game before the Euros
Sunday, 6th Jun 2021 09:00 by Gruff Stephens
It was slow that’s for sure, it didn’t seem that well managed either, and that was just the first half. No shots on goal for Wales in the first forty five minutes, who at last had their fellow country folk there to cheer them on. The positive is Wales didn’t lose, and of course four thousand plus fans at the game was the biggest thing to cheer about all afternoon.
When you put this game in to perspective there’s a reason why it was never going to be anything other than what it was. Wales players determined not to get injured and scuppering the chance to ‘maybe’ emulate their brethren from five years ago is a good starting point. Nobody after nearly two seasons of top flight football without a real break wants to miss out on their biggest opportunity ever to play for their country.
We will forgive them for that.
This wasn’t the brutal and hard fought performance we saw when Mexico were put to the sword, and that along with those two crucial qualifiers in recent times should tell us all this is a Wales side that will fight to the bitter end. The second half was much better, some lovely moves from back to front were rewarded with little, but it did tell us that this Wales side is worth more than a 0-0 against Albania.
Ramsey perhaps should have done better to divert a David Brooks near-post cross towards goal, but couldn't find the target. It was the story of the game, missed chances in the second half that won’t be acceptable come next weeks Euros kick off. Those chances have to be buried if Wales want to find themselves chasing the dream again.
Wilson had a go, he missed, Neco Williams who seems to have a clear choice between Swansea or Cardiff on loan next season also fluffed his lines, it was a game with little chances. We all know Moore is a nuisance, but Wales have to adopt a more direct style to involve him in the game come next Saturday against Switzerland in Baku. If included it will be a stern test for him. The Albanian temperament was evident in the second half, knowing they could easily lose the game by a goal or two they resorted to rough house tactics, it earned them the draw. Aaron Ramsey will require some intensive treatment before Page names his side for next week too. He took some nasty knocks before leaving the field.
It’s a time once more when the country comes together to support its national side, and without doubt it will be a magnificent achievement if Wales get out of their tough group. However, they have done it before, and you just get the feeling there is enough real grit in the team of 2021 to show us all once again this isn’t going to be another ‘underdogs go out’ story. Rumours of many Welsh fans attending next Saturdays game are rampant, even more so when the national side go to Rome as well. It’s exciting, make no bones about it. The underdogs are back, and will give everything to make sure the headlines are in red.
Together stronger ? Possibly, but games against Switzerland, who are without doubt the strongest side in the group, followed by Turkey who can blow hot and cold, these no doubt are serious tests. For us the big one is against Italy. And anyone with a decent memory going back to 2003 in Milan will know that’s the game that Wales really need to make a point. And if they do get one, then a win against Turkey will see them get out of a seriously difficult group. Ask Robert Page, he played in that game in 2003, and will know he needs to make this game personal. If he does and the Wales team go for it, we could be on another glorious journey in the Euros.
The red wall is back.
Wales: Hennessey; Ampadu (Moore 45), Mepham, Davies (c) (Rodon 61), N. Williams; Levitt, Allen (Smith 61), Ramsey (Wilson 61), Norrington-Davies; Brooks (J. Williams 76), T.Roberts (Bale 70)
Subs : Ward, Davies, Gunter, Cabango, Colwill,
Albania: Selmani; Ismajli, Kumbulla, Djimsiti; Doka (Veseli 45), Cekci (Kallaku 76), Bare (Laci 76), Abrashi (c), Lenjani (Trashi 61); Balaj (Cikalleshi 61), Manaj (Seferi 77)
Subs : Sherri, Harizaj, Hoxhallari, Arlind Ajeti, Ramadani
Photographs licensed from Reuters
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