Brennan Johnson scored his first international goal for Wales. Pic: Getty Images.

The Nations League Talking Points . . . As Wales Hope To End June Camp On A High

By Paul Jones

Wales visit Holland after putting their first top-tier Nations League point on the board by drawing 1-1 with Belgium on Saturday.

Holland lead the way in Group A4 with seven points from three games.

Here we look at the main talking points ahead of the game at the Feyenoord Stadium in Rotterdam.

Wales will go to the World Cup in November still relying on Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey to produce. Bale and Ramsey continue to make the difference in the big games, despite a lack of club action. But Wales have unearthed another exciting talent in Brennan Johnson, and the Nottingham Forest forward heads to Rotterdam on a high after scoring his maiden Wales goal against Belgium.

Boss Robert Page was exalted by Wales’ promotion to League A, saying it would provide his players with necessary exposure to top teams. Wales, however, have had to learn lessons fast and painful late defeats to Poland and Holland have left them playing catch-up in the battle to avoid relegation. Confidence has been boosted by the deserved draw with Belgium, which will give Wales belief they belong at this level.

Joe Rodon’s club and international career remains a case of chalk and cheese. Rodon failed to make a single Premier League start at Spurs last term, and has made just 15 top-flight appearances (seven as substitute) since joining from Swansea in October 2020. Bale, a former Spurs team-mate, has questioned that lack of game-time. It is a different story on the international stage as Rodon has been majestic for Wales.

Holland have been on a roll since their Euro 2020 round-of-16 exit to the Czech Republic last summer. Former Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal has overseen an 11-game unbeaten run since starting his third spell in charge in September. Despite being held 2-2 by Poland in Rotterdam on Saturday, Holland top the group with a three-point lead at the halfway stage.

To say Wales have a poor record against Holland is an understatement. Holland’s last-gasp 2-1 victory in Cardiff on Wednesday made it nine wins from nine games for the Dutch. Those victories include four in World Cup qualifying, ahead of the 1990 and 1998 tournaments, and the goal count is a whopping 26-6 in Holland’s favour.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.