HomeFootball NewsWales in 'relaxed' mood ahead of Finland play-off, says Page

Wales in ‘relaxed’ mood ahead of Finland play-off, says Page

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Wales boss Rob Page says his players are in a “relaxed” but not “blasé” mood ahead of Thursday’s crucial Euro 2024 play-off semi-final against Finland.

Having finished third in their qualification group behind Turkey and Croatia, Wales must come through play-off path A to book a place at this summer’s tournament in Germany.

Wales will welcome Finland to the Cardiff City Stadium on Thursday for their play-off semi-final, with the victors set to host either Poland or Estonia in a do-or-die contest next Tuesday.

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A place in Group D – alongside the Netherlands, Austria and France – is the prize awaiting whoever emerges victorious from that branch, but Page says his players are not feeling the pressure.

“It’s quite a relaxed environment and that’s not because we’re blasé about it,” says Page.

“Training’s been excellent and we’ve been through similar experiences playing Austria and Ukraine [in previous play-offs]. It’s everything to play for but we’re fully prepared for it.”

Pressed on the challenge of facing Finland, Page said: “They’re here for a reason. They’re a good outfit.

“We’ve played them in the Nations League and in friendlies recently. They’re going to be a big physical team and they’ll pose a threat.

“We’re going to have to be at it. If we play as well as I know we can, the result will take care of itself.”

Tottenham defender Ben Davies is expected to captain Wales on Thursday, with Cardiff City’s Aaron Ramsey likely to start among the substitutes after seeing his gametime limited since his return from a calf injury.

However, Page says Ramsey – whose 84 caps put him joint-seventh on Wales’ all-time appearance list – will have a big part to play regardless of how many minutes he gets.

“We’re spoilt for choice at the top of the pitch at this moment in time. It’s a good problem to have,” Page added.

“To have people like Aaron, who has that ability even if he doesn’t have the legs he used to have, is great for the younger players. That experience will have an influence on the group.”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.

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