Wales’ Aaron Ramsey Describes The Cardiff City Stadium As “A Special Place To Play”. . .As Rob Page’s Men Book a Home Play-off Semi-Final

Aaron Ramsey applauds the Wales fans after their draw with Belgium. Pic: Getty Images.

Wales’ Aaron Ramsey Describes The Cardiff City Stadium As “A Special Place To Play”. . .As Rob Page’s Men Book a Home Play-off Semi-Final

By Paul Jones

Aaron Ramsey stressed the importance of home advantage as Wales booked a World Cup play-off semi-final date in Cardiff.

But Turkey could only win 2-1 in Montenegro and Wales’ 1-1 draw with Belgium, the world’s top-ranked side, clinched a home semi-final game in March.

“There’s some big, big teams still in it, but it’s so important that we had a home tie,” Ramsey told Sky Sports.

“You could see the atmosphere here tonight, it’s a special place to come and play.

“So hopefully that will give us an extra edge in that play-off.”

Aaron Ramsey celebrates alongside the injured Gareth Bale. Pic: Getty Images.

After Kieffer Moore had cancelled out Kevin De Bruyne’s early effort, Ramsey said: “It’s massive. Full credit to the boys. They put in a massive shift again against top opposition, so full credit.

Manager Rob Page admitted he had tears in his eyes after the final whistle.  He said: “I was a wreck. It was an emotional time of just telling the players how proud I am.

“I couldn’t be any more proud of that group of men, to give that level of performance off the back of Saturday’s performance (a 5-1 victory over Belarus) as well.

“Even late on, 15, 20 minutes to go, we weren’t happy just sitting on a point.

An emotional Rob Page acknowledges the Wales fans. Pic: Getty Images.

“We wanted to go and get the win, and credit has to go the players, they were outstanding.”

Belgium had booked their place at next year’s World Cup in Qatar by beating Estonia on Saturday.

“It makes a big difference for Wales now to go into the play-offs and be able to play at home.

“I would say without the crowd that maybe we don’t concede that goal.

“Every time the ball goes into the box or every time the ball goes to a certain player’s feet, those emotions can give you an extra step.

“For us, that’s why it was so good to see our young players able to cope in that environment.

“We can take a lot of information out of the way that we performed in such a beautiful, hostile atmosphere.”

Aaron Ramsey captained Wales in the absence of Gareth Bale who had been ruled out by injury.

Bale won his 100th cap against Belarus on Saturday, the Real Madrid forward’s first game for two months following a hamstring tear, but was withdrawn at half-time of that 5-1 victory after appearing a long way short of match fitness.

The loss of Bale, who was watching the game from the stands, saw Moore return to the starting line-up following suspension.

Ethan Ampadu was banned after picking up two bookings and Wales were walking a disciplinary tightrope ahead of the play-offs.

Six players in the matchday squad were one yellow card away from suspension and missing the play-off semi-final in March.

In the event, Joe Morrell was the only player to pick up a second yellow card and will sit out the semi-final.

The draw for both the play-off semi-finals and finals will take place on November 26th in Switzerland.


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