A is for Alfie! QPR's Alfie Tuck celebrates his goal.

A is for Alfie! QPR's Alfie Tuck celebrates his goal. Pic: Owen Morgan.

Young Dragons Are Starting To Roar . . . Wales U17s Stand On Brink Of History After Alfie Tuck’s It Away

By Owen Morgan

Wales Under-17s are one match away from making history in the UEFA Under-17 Elite Round.

A win against Montenegro on Tuesday afternoon will see the Wales youngsters qualify for the European Under-17 Championship finals in Hungary later this year.

A 1-1 draw against Iceland at the FAW’s Dragon Park facility in Newport on Saturday sees Wales on top of Group 2 going into the final round of qualifying matches, which are being hosted in South Wales.

The young Dragons currently lead the way with four points thanks to a 4-2 win over Scotland at Rodney Parade last week and Saturday’s stalemate with the Icelanders.

Alfie Tuck puts Wales ahead with a fierce volley. Alfie Tuck puts Wales ahead with a fierce volley. Pic: Owen Morgan.

The eight group winners and seven runners-up with the best records in the Elite Round will join hosts Hungary in the finals, which will be held between May 17 and June 2.

Wales reached the Elite Round after chalking up an impressive 2-0 win over Croatia and draws with Sweden and Albania to top their group in the previous stage of qualifying.

Following last Wednesday’s impressive win over Scotland, coach Craig Knight shuffled the pack for the clash with Iceland with Manchester City’s Rhys Thomas and Gabriele Biancheri, who recently signed for Manchester United from Cardiff City, among those dropping to the bench.

Manchester United’s Gabriele Biancheri tussles with the Iceland defence. Pic: Owen Morgan.

And it was one of those brought into the side, who gave Wales the lead on Saturday.

Queens Park Rangers midfielder Alfie Tuck produced a superb finish in the 31st minute.

When a cross by Cardiff City’s Luey Giles was headed out to the edge of the area by the Icelandic defence, Tuck was waiting on the edge of the D where he showed superb technique to fire a fierce first-time volley into the bottom left-hand corner.

The goal was fitting reward for hosts, who had looked dangerous during the first half an hour.

The chief Welsh threat early on came through centre forward Iwan Morgan, who had scored twice against Scotland.

The Swansea City striker displayed strong hold-up play and was also a willing runner behind the Icelandic defence all afternoon.

Cardiff City defender Dylan Lawlor also threatened with a couple of headers during the first 45 minutes.

Iceland also had their moments and their threat increased during the opening minutes of the second half.

Swansea City’s Iwan Morgan fires in a shot.. Pic: Owen Morgan.

The visitors gained their reward in the 52 second minute when Daníel Ingi Jóhanesson ghosted in between two Welsh defenders to head past Swansea City’s Kit Margetson.

Knight responded in the 59th minute by bringing on Plymouth Argyle forward Freddie Issaka and Biancheri, who had both scored against Scotland.

Both had chances in the final half-an-hour, with Wales also going close through Morgan and Swans clubmate Jacob Cook.

Southampton’s Joe Andrews hit the crossbar in the final seconds as Wales threw everything at the visitors in search of a winner.

Knight’s side will now look ahead to their meeting with Montenegro, who sit bottom of the group following an opening match draw with Iceland and a defeat to Scotland on Saturday.

Attendance to Tuesday’s clash with Montenegro at Dragon Park will be limited to players’ friends and family.

Plymouth’s Freddie Issaka runs at the Iceland defence. Pic: Owen Morgan.

However, the game, which kicks off at 1pm, will be streamed live on Sgorio’s Facebook and YouTube channels.

Wales: Kit Margetson, Luey Giles, Daniel Cox, Dylan Lawlor (Brayden Clarke 78’), Charlie Crew (C), Iwan Morgan (Troy Perrett 85’), George Morgan (Freddie Issaka 59’), Ronan Kpakio, Jacob Cook (Joseph Andrews 78’), Alfie Tuck (Gabriele Biancheri 59’), Cody Twose.

GOALS: Alfie Tuck (31’)
YELLOW CARDS: Freddie Issaka (63’), Dylan Lawlor (71’), Troy Perrett (90’)
Iceland: Ívar Arnbro Þórhallson, Stefán Gísli Stefánsson, Þorri Stefán Þorbjönsson, Sölvi Stefánsson, Kjartan Már Kjartansson, Daníel Tristan Gudjohnsen (C), Cole Campbell, Jón Arnar Sigurdsson (Nóel Atli Arnórson 66’), Daníel Ingi Jóhanesson, Breki Baldursson, Bkarki Hauksson (Sesar Örn Harđarson 46’).
GOALS: Daníel Ingi Jóhanesson (52’)

Wales Full Elite Round Squad: Aled THOMAS (Everton), Alfie TUCK (Queens Park Rangers), Brayden CLARKE (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Charlie CREW (Leeds United), Cody TWOSE (Cardiff City), Dan COX (Derby County), Dylan LAWLOR (Cardiff City), Freddie ISSAKA (Plymouth Argyle), Gabriele BIANCHERI (Manchester United), George MORGAN (Everton), Iwan MORGAN (Swansea City), Jacob COOK (Swansea City), Joe ANDREWS (Southampton), Joe HATCH (Plymouth Argyle), Kit MARGETSON (Swansea City), Luey GILES (Cardiff City), Luke ARMSTRONG (Cardiff City), Rhys THOMAS (Manchester City), Sam PARKER (Swansea City), Troy PERRETT (Cardiff City), Lewys BENJAMIN (Cardiff City).

Wales Under-17s pictured before their clash with Iceland. Pic: Owen Morgan.

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