Robert Page Says Wales Have Pace To Burn As He Eyes Polish Test

CARDIFF, WALES - MARCH 21: Neco Williams of Wales celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 2-0 during the UEFA EURO 2024 Play-Offs Semi-final between Wales and Finland at Cardiff City Stadium on March 21, 2024 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images)

Robert Page Says Wales Have Pace To Burn As He Eyes Polish Test


By Ian Gordon

Robert Page is ready to unleash his Welsh speedsters on Poland as he looks to book qualification for this summer’s European Championships.

The Wales boss saw his gamble on going with a pacy front trio pay-off with a 4-1 rout of Finland in the Euro 2024 semi-final play-off.

David Brooks, Neco Williams, Brennan Johnson and Dan James all scored to set up decider with Poland in Cardiff on Tuesday with the prize a trip to Germany this summer.

“On another night it might have been five or six,” said Page after another memorable sell-out European occasion at Cardiff City Stadium.

“The biggest selection headache I had tonight was at the top of the pitch. I knew that pace would hurt them.

“People like Dan James coming off the bench, playing really well at club level and scoring goals. When you have players at club level playing well, they can add value and change the game for us.

‘We have already looked at Poland. It will be a tough test but what more motivation do you need? The boys will be ready on Tuesday.”



If it was a gamble by Page to start Brooks – ahead of the in-form Kieffer Moore – in a lightning quick front three then the gamble paid off in spectacular fashion within three minutes.

Wilson played a one-two with skipper Ben Davies and though his effort was parried into the air by keeper Lukas Hradecky, Brooks was on hand to fire home the rebound.

The Finns may be 31 places below Wales in the world rankings, but their patient build-up play was causing a few problems.

Daniel Hakans hooked a good chance wide on nine minutes while dangerman Teemu Pukki saw an effort saved by Danny Ward.

Pukki was then sent clear by a misplaced pass from Chris Mepham, but the danger was snuffed out.

And Wales grabbed the second goal they needed on 38 minutes instead after Brennan Johnson was fouled in the D.

It was perfect Wilson territory, but the Fulham man back-heeled the ball into the path of Neco Williams who curled a stunning effort into the corner.

Wales looked to have two feet firmly in Tuesday-s final but it was the arm of a Welsh defender that proved decisive in a VAR check just seconds before half-time.

Pukki was judged to be onside after somehow being put clear and the former Norwich City striker made no mistake sliding home his 4oth goal for his country.

But Wales responded and within two minutes of the interval, Johnson tapped home at the far post after Wilson’s free-kick had been helped on by the imperious Ethan Ampadu and Brooks.

Wales were now in total control with Wilson and Moore – on for Brooks – going close.

Davies thought he had added a fourth with a far post header, but it was ruled out for offside after the referee watched the replays.

But Wales were not to be denied an emphatic victopry with Dan James racing from deep inside his own half to dispossess Miro Tenho before rounding Hradecky to side foot home.

Page added: “We were disappointed with the goal we conceded. It made for an uncomfortable few minutes but the start of the second half was excellent.

“We had to address a couple of things at half time and were better in the second half. 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.”

Bring on Poland!


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