Another Page Turned for Wales After Epic Win Over Croatia

Wales’ footballers have taken back control.

Their European destiny is in their own hands thanks to a magnificent 2-1 victory over Croatia on lastnight.

In what was arguably their best performance and result outside of any match involving Gareth Bale, two goals from Harry Wilson led to memorable post-match scenes at the Cardiff City Stadium.

The result means that qualification for the finals of Euro 2024 in Germany next summer is within their grasp.

Wilson, winning his 50th cap, scored twice as Wales climbed above the 2022 World Cup semi-finalists in to second place in Group D.

The two teams are tied on 10 points, six behind group leaders Turkey who secured qualification by beating Latvia 4-0 also yesterday.

But goal difference over the whole group is not the main factor when teams are level, so Wales are second by virtue of having a better head-to-head record against Croatia after also drawing 1-1 with them in Split in March.

Page said: “I would say it’s the best performance (of his three-year reign), I am immensely proud.

“There was unnecessary noise coming into it, with me fighting fires. I didn’t need any player to speak, I see the players want to play for me.

“I had a text from the chief executive today, before that, not for five weeks.

“I just want to concentrate on the football, we are two games away from qualifying for another major tournament, a fourth in five.

“We believe we can do it. We need to do the same (in November) as we did in this camp.”

Wales had never beaten Croatia in seven previous attempts, drawing three and losing four.

The victory over the team ranked sixth in the world and 27 places above the Dragons, came after pre-match reports that manager Page’s job could be in jeopardy.

Wales came into the contest knowing victories in their final three group games were probably necessary to secure a top-two place and avoid the play-offs in March.

Page’s side still have work to do in November – away to Armenia and at home to group leaders Turkey – but upsetting the 2022 World Cup semi-finalists in such fashion offers great encouragement.

Football Association of Wales chief executive Noel Mooney had said earlier in the week that a “serious review” would take place on Page’s position following the final group games against Armenia and Turkey next month.

Page is currently just over 12 months into a four-year deal and he added: “In all aspects, how we defended against an excellent team with one of the best midfields in the world was outstanding.

“We are in a transition period where we’ve lost one of the best players in the world (Gareth Bale). We are introducing young players to strengthen us and improve us.

“Seven of our 11 are not starting for their club. Chris Mepham’s last game was against Latvia. Kieffer Moore isn’t playing for his club.

“But when they turn up for Wales, they produce a performance like that. I am really proud of them as a group.

“The players are an incredible bunch and it’s in our hands now.

“I understand not everyone is going to be a fan of mine, but when you have a group of players playing like that for you, it makes you immensely proud.”

Goal hero Wilson said: “We were always confident in the quality we have got in this group, and we are 100 per cent behind the manager.

“We know there has been a lot of noise from the outside and some comments that weren’t helpful for us or for our preparation – some were from people we didn’t really expect to make those comments, to be honest.”


Away from the international game, Wrexham underlined their status as serious candidates for automatic promotion from League Two by beating Salford City, 3-2 at home.

Wrexham are now fifth in the table, but level on points with Mansfield, who are in the third automatic promotion slot.


It was not such a good weekend for Newport County, though, who have slipped down to 20th after losing 2-0 at Swindon Town, now managed by former County boss Michael Flynn.