Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey hail Wales’ resilience after qualifying for last 16 of Euro 2020 despite narrow defeat by Italy – as star duo insist ‘you can never question our character’ after playing 35 minutes with 10 men
Aaron Ramsey hailed the character of his Wales teammates as they secured their place in the last 16 of Euro 2020.
Wales lost 1-0 to Italy in their final Group A match, having been down to 10 men for much of the second half after Ethan Ampadu’s red card.
However, it was enough to finish second in the group and Ramsey was proud of the way the side responded to losing a man and then having to deal with an Italian team that extended their unbeaten run.
Aaron Ramsey praised Wales’ character after playing much of the second half with ten men
Despite the 1-0 defeat to Italy they finished second in Group A to qualify for the last 16
‘It was tough. For long periods of that game it was tough,’ Ramsey said. ‘We’re up against a great team – to go 30 games unbeaten is some achievement so fair play.
‘But again, we showed great character. This team, you can never question our character. We always give absolutely everything out there and again we dug in for Ethan, I feel sorry for him. We have each others backs out there and we finished off the job.
‘For us then it was just important to stay compact and create a couple of opportunities, which we did and we could have nicked a draw maybe on another day. It wasn’t to be, but we’re still delighted that we’re second.’
A draw in their opening match against Switzerland despite not being at their best set Wales up for the tournament, before they produced a brilliant display against Turkey to put themselves in a strong position.
Wales had chances to score themselves with Gareth Bale blazing over a great opportunity
They will now face either Finland, Russia or Denmark in the next round, and Ramsey believes Wales are strong enough in all departments to make a deep run just like they famously did in 2016.
‘We have a lot of attacking threat, we keep games really tight, we work hard for each other so we have a good balance,’ Ramsey said.
‘In the first half we showed glimpses of what we can do against good opposition – we kept the ball well, created a couple of opportunities, and we just need to be more consistent throughout the game in doing that.
‘We have the quality to do it, so it’s just about having that bit of belief to go out and do that.’
Bale also hailed the commitment of the side to ensure they kept the margin of defeat small
Gareth Bale was also in high spirits after the match, relieved that Wales kept it tight and ensured there was no further damage to their goal difference that could have allowed Switzerland to leapfrog them into second.
‘There was a lot of defending, a lot of running, and some very tired bodies out there,’ Bale said.
‘I’m proud of the boys, we obviously wanted to try and get a result but it made no difference, we finished second anyway.
‘We had to make sure we didn’t concede as many as possible, because we knew that five goal swing was there.’