Wales must deliver in front of one of the most passionate crowds in international football as hopes of automatic qualification for Euro 2024 hang by a thread after draw against Armenia
- Wales can still qualify for the Euros automatically but must beat Turkey
- Rob Page’s side have largely underwhelmed but still have a chance of qualifying
- Aaron Ramsdale’s dad has every right to support his son – It’s All Kicking Off
Despite producing just one impressive performance in their entire qualifying campaign, Wales somehow still have a chance of claiming an automatic spot at Euro 2024.
If they beat Turkey on Tuesday and Croatia fail to overcome Armenia, Wales will finish second behind the Turks and reach next summer’s Finals without the need for a play-off.
As poor as they were in drawing 1-1 in Armenia on Saturday, Wales are a different proposition at home. In front of one of the most passionate crowds in the international game, Rob Page’s team will feel anything is possible, especially as Turkey have already qualified.
Yet the chances of Croatia – who lost in Cardiff last month – blowing it against Armenia seem remote. Even Page seemed to acknowledge that Wales’ likeliest route to a third consecutive major tournament would be via the play-offs next spring, for which they will almost certainly qualify thanks to their results in the last Nations League campaign.
‘We’ve got to pick ourselves up and finish with a performance on Tuesday,’ he said. ‘We look forward to finishing with momentum and if it’s a play-off in March, then we take that.’
Rob Page’s Wales team have underwhelmed in qualifying but can still qualify for next year’s Euros automatically
Wales must recover from their recent disappointing draw against Armenia to beat Turkey and give themselves a chance of finishing second in their qualifying group
Dan James and Brennan Johnson were left out of the starting XI in Yerevan as Page kept faith with the formula that saw off Croatia, but both will surely return this week. Johnson is settling into life at Tottenham after his £47million move from Nottingham Forest last summer but has not scored for his country since June 2022. How Wales need him to break that duck now.
‘Unfortunately it’s now out of our control,’ said Page. ‘With a win, we’d all have been buzzing and looking forward to the game on Tuesday and a [further] win would have seen us qualify.
‘It’s not materialised as we’d like but that’s life and we have to get on with it.’
Tottenham star Brennan Johnson (right) has not scored for his country since June 2022 and Wales will need him against Turkey on Tuesday
In front of one of the most passionate crowds in the international game, Wales will feel anything is possible
Without that result and performance against Croatia, Page would now be under significant pressure.
The players rallied round their manager last month after Welsh FA chief executive Noel Mooney suggested his job was under review and the reaction to Mooney’s remarks means Page would be safe at least until the play-offs.
But apart from that stirring display against Croatia, Wales have been underwhelming ever since they were knocked out of the World Cup in Qatar last winter at the group stage.
It felt like a corner had been turned last month but the draw in Yerevan raised all the old questions. Whatever the final standings in the group, a win over Turkey would provide a much-needed change of momentum for Page and his team.
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