Wales Are Two Steps From More Euro Glory

Rob Page insists he never lost belief in himself, or his players, and that conviction can earn rich reward for Wales in Armenia this weekend.

Page’s team are in Yerevan on Saturday afternoon, where a victory will put them just one more win from clinching a place at next summer’s Euro 2024 finals in Germany.

Not many would have put their mortgage on that outcome back in June after Wales had lost 4-2 at home to the Armenians and followed that with a 2-0 defeat in Turkey.

But victories overt Latvia and then Croatia have transformed the picture and now Wales stand second in Pool D, with their fate in their own hands.

“We didn’t like what we saw in June,” said Page, who was facing the sack in the summer according to some reports.

“We put things right in September (a 2-0 win in Latvia) and built on it in October, and then capped it off with one of the best performances that I’ve seen.

“But we’ve got to build on that as it will count for nothing if we don’t follow it up. We need to sustain those levels.”

Brennan Johnson has been the man tasked with stepping into Gareth Bale’s shoes and the Tottenham forward is back after missing last month’s internationals with an injury.

Johnson’s pace and movement can trouble any defence, but Page plugged the gap against Croatia by utilising a three-man forward line of David Brooks, Harry Wilson and Kieffer Moore.

All three performed superbly with Wilson claiming a match-winning double.

Johnson is expected to return, however – possibly at the expense of Brooks – with Page also likely to use the pace of Daniel James from the bench.


In Johnson’s absence, Fulham winger Wilson answered the call for new heroes, scoring two goals against a star-studded Croatia team.

Birmingham City teenager Jordan James has been a revelation since stepping into the void left after Joe Allen’s retirement from international football.

And Leeds’ relegation to the Championship has helped Ethan Ampadu and Joe Rodon find regular first-team football alongside Daniel James, after the winger returned to his parent club from a loan spell at Fulham.

However, Page is still having to rely on a core of players making their living in the English second tier.

Ben Davies, stand-in captain for Aaron Ramsey, is one of the few proven Premier League performers among the squad but even he has made just two league starts for Spurs this season.

“We’re standing up against the challenges and here we are with two games to go, still in the fight,” said Davies.

“We never stopped believing in this group. The mindset we’ve got is we can get a result against anyone. We’ve shown that.”

Wales have failed to beat Armenia in three meetings.

There were two draws in 2002 World Cup qualifying, 2-2 in Yerevan when John Hartson scored a brace, before a goalless Cardiff clash.

Wales were expected to breeze past Armenia – 71 places below them on the FIFA rankings when they met in June – but a 4-2 defeat damaged their Euro 2024 qualification hopes.

More than one Welsh player has mentioned avenging that loss in the build-up to the Yerevan return.

Wilson said: “We know what we did wrong in that game and we know what we’ve got to do on Saturday to put that right.


“For sure we owe them one. They played a fantastic game, but we also know we weren’t at the levels we’ve been at since. If we can perform like we did against Croatia, I’m pretty confident we can get a result.”