Gareth Bale revealed how proud he was of his Wales teammates after they qualified for the knockout stages of Euro 2020. Wales lost their last group stage game to Italy 1-0 but managed to finish above Switzerland on goal difference. Wales midfielder Ethan Ampadu was given his marching orders with 35 minutes to go at the Stadio Olimpico. They dug deep to prevent the Italians from inflicting further damage. Wales will now face the runners-up from Group B in the Round of 16 of Euro 2020. Denmark, Finland, and Russia are in contention for that spot.
“We knew it was going to be a very difficult game from the start,” Gareth Bale said after qualifying for the knockout stages of Euro 2020. “There was a lot of defending, a lot of running, and a lot of tired bodies out there. I’m proud of the boys. We wanted to try and get a result, but I guess it made no difference [as] we finished second anyway.”
“It [Ampadu red card] was unfortunate but we had to dig deep. We had to make sure we didn’t concede as many as possible, but the five-goal swing was there,” he added. “We’ll get a little bit of a break now, patch everyone up, and get going again.”
Switzerland beat Turkey 3-1 but could not manage to bridge the five-goal difference. With four points, they should finish as one of the best third-placed teams. The four best third-placed teams will qualify for the Round of 16. Wales boss Rob Page said that he felt the decision to send off Ampadu was ‘harsh’.
“Of course Ethan is disappointed. He’s a young lad and he wants to be part of this major tournament. This will hamper that.” Page said. “I haven’t seen it back, but I thought it was a harsh decision at the time. I thought it might have been a yellow.”It’s tough enough with 11 men but having 10 gave us an even bigger hill to climb.”