Interim Wales manager Robert Page has warned his potential Euro 2020 knockout round competitors not to underestimate his players after they advanced out of Group A.
They lost 1-0 to Italy on Sunday but still booked a place in the next stage because of their goal difference advantage over Switzerland.
Page has commended the team for expertly managing travel and Covid-19 precautions to this point, and he feels they can continue to exceed expectations behind star men Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey.
What has been said?
“I’m really proud of the group and I’m looking forward to the last 16,” Page said. “It’s phenomenal, the character we have in the changing room. Don’t underestimate the character of a Welshman.
“It’s not been easy because we’ve had to go to Baku [to play Switzerland and Turkey], travel to Italy and now we’re going to Amsterdam.
“On paper, it seems like a great idea to have it all over Europe but logistically it is an absolute nightmare. And then you throw Covid into the mix as well.”
Midfielder Aaron Ramsey, meanwhile, said the response from Wales to keep the match close against Italy despite going down to 10 men “showed great character”. Ethan Ampadu was sent off in the 55th minute with the squad already down a goal.
“We had each other’s back out there and we did the job,” Ramsey told ITV. “[After the red card] it was important to stay compact and try to create a couple of opportunities, which we did.
“We could have nicked a draw on another day. We have a lot of attacking threat, we keep games really tight and we work hard for each other. We’re through in second place so we’re delighted.”
Up next for Wales
Wales will play the runners-up in Group B in the last 16. Right now, Russia holds that spot and are considered most likely to meet Page’s team, but Finland and Denmark are also still in contention.