James, Allen and Bale all set to start in Kazan : Page needs to focus
Saturday, 4th Sep 2021 09:00 by Gruff Stephens
It’s looking like three of Wales match winners are going to start for their home country tomorrow in their World Cup qualifier against Belarus. Swansea City products Dan James and Joe Allen are in prime spots to start with the ever reliable Gareth Bale.
Wales will go for the three points in Kazan after their hosts suffered an embarrassing 8-0 loss to Belgium in March, but have turned things around slightly only losing 1-0 to the Czech Republic this week. Many Wales followers believe this game should be a must win on Sunday afternoon, but sometimes that isn’t how football works. Losing 3-1 away in Belgium at the start of their campaign, but then delivering a 1-0 win against the Czech Republic after that at home Wales will want to take another three points this weekend.
Belarus often rely on their support when they play in Minsk but this weekend that won’t be happening. Wales need to take advantage of this in Kazan if at all possible. The game will be played behind closed doors which has annoyed manager Robert Page, clearly not understanding the serious gravity of human rights abuses in the country. Two weeks ago the Swiss Federal Council announced a new package of sanctions on Belarus in response to the human rights violations and the “ongoing repression against civil society and members of the opposition”. The UK has already imposed fairly extreme sanctions on Belarus over the last few months. We wouldn’t expect a football manager to have that much awareness of the situation in Belarus, however Page wasn’t happy with the venue switch to Russia. No fans and the logistical issues fans being allowed he described as as ‘crazy.’
He may have added later “Uefa could have picked any neutral venue but they’ve decided on Kazan. First and foremost we sympathise with the Belarusians, absolutely. But organising it from a financial and logistical point of view is a nightmare. “We’ve got to pick a bigger squad as we all need visas – just in case there are injuries this weekend. The work that has gone into it is crazy. I have never seen anything like it – the amount of work, forms to fill in, it’s crazy. We tried to appeal but were shot down straight away. Uefa have decided that’s what we have to do and we have to get on with it.”
Concentrate on the football, no distractions, especially homemade ones please Robert
Looks like the life of a footballer sometimes has to fit in with what we all have to do most days. What comes as a shock to some sports people who find their lives mapped out for them on a daily basis seems to be a complete surprise for the Wales manager. It won’t please UEFA who have seemingly singled out Wales for intensive travel this year, especially when relations need rebuilding.
Wales have a job to do as does Rob Page, let’s not throw things out there as early excuses for whatever happens on Sunday. Let’s get the team organised properly, get them focussed and disregard other distractions. Page’s job is just that. We need to get those recent performances out of our system, buckle down and start putting pressure on the Czech Republic and Belgium who are above Wales in the qualification table.
It’s what we expect.
You can watch the whole match LIVE on SKY Sports football and S4C.
Photographs via Open Source
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