Wales Left In Silence By Impact Of Armenia Agony Says Neco Williams

YEREVAN, ARMENIA - NOVEMBER 18: Neco Williams of Wales reacts at full time following the UEFA EURO 2024 European qualifier match between Armenia and Wales at Vazgen Sargsyan Republican Stadium on November 18, 2023 in Yerevan, Armenia. (Photo by Levan Verdzeuli - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Wales Left In Silence By Impact Of Armenia Agony Says Neco Williams


By David Williams

Neco Williams has revealed deadly Armenia left Wales in stunned silence for a second time and their Euro 2024 hopes almost muted.

The Nottingham Forest wing-back has admitted the unfancied Armenians have had much the better of two painful meetings with Wales in qualifiers.

A 1-1 draw in Armenia on Saturday was not enough to make amends for the 4-2 home defeat back in June, leaving Wales now 9-1 outsiders to gain automatic entry to Germany next summer.

The result has put the pressure back on manager Rob Page, who seemed to have turned things around after Wales’ 2-1 victory over Croatia.

Wales must beat Turkey tomorrow (Tues) in Cardiff and pray Armenia can get at least a draw in Croatia to thwart the Croats.

“As soon as the lads came in after the game you could feel that frustration,” said Williams.

“No-one talked and it felt like a loss. But we take a point from it and all we can do now is focus on our last game against Turkey.

“If we get the three points there you never know what’s going to happen.”

From being in control of their own destiny, Page and his team now need a favour from their nemesis opponents when the Armenians go to Zagreb.

They may have only picked up four points from their five games not involving Wales, but Williams reckons Armenia are capable of providing that vital helping hand.

“Armenia are a top team. They have got some very good players and, hopefully, they can do a job on Croatia like they did against us,” added Williams.

“We still have a chance because you never know what’s going to happen.

“It’s not in our hands and we have got to wait for the other results. There’s a lot of luck in football, and hopefully it will be on our side.”

If Wales – now third in Group D – fail to overhaul Croatia in tomorrow’s final round of matches then the Dragonhood will pour their focus into the play-offs.

Their back door entry route will come in March, the same two-game journey they used to get to last year’s World Cup finals in Qatar when they overcame Austria and Ukraine.

This time, their most likely opponents are two from Finland, Iceland, Poland and Ukraine again.

Williams added: “We did it for the World Cup and, if it does happen, we’ve still got a chance.

“If we don’t qualify through the group, do it that way.”

If Wales are forced down the play-off road, they will regret allowing Lucas Zelarayan the space to score after only five minutes in Yerevan.

An own goal on the stroke of half-time got Wales back on level terms, but they were second best after the break and would have lost had Danny Ward not made an excellent save late on.

Meanwhile, roared on by huge support in Berlin’s Olympiastadion, Turkey came from behind to beat Germany 3-2 in a friendly that seemed more like a home game for the visitors on Saturday.

Foreign-born players scored all three goals for Turkey.

The French-born Yusuf Sari got the winner from the penalty spot in the 71st minute, after German-born Kenan Yildiz and Dutch-born Ferdi Kadıoğlu had scored before the break.

Supporters carrying Turkey’s distinctive red flag outnumbered their German counterparts in a city that’s home to a large community of people with Turkish roots.


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