Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Taylor ready for Belgium test

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 27 Jun 2016

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Wales wing-back Neil Taylor hopes flowing football can be on the agenda in the Euro 2016 quarter-final against Belgium, where each side will hold few surprises for the other.

A Gareth McAuley own-goal 15 minutes from time saw Wales past Northern Ireland 1-0 in Paris on Saturday, while Belgium secured their place in the last eight thanks to a swashbuckling 4-0 win over Hungary on Sunday in Bordeaux.

Chris Coleman’s men took four points off Belgium during qualification, having also been paired alongside Marc Wilmots’ side during the 2014 World Cup preliminaries.

Swansea City’s Taylor praised Wales for toughing out an attritional contest with Northern Ireland, where they were short of their best on the back of 3-0 dismissal of Russia that allowed them to top Group B.

“I think we have shown we can do both styles,” said Taylor, who scored a rare goal in that convincing triumph. “Against Russia we played great football, much better than we did against England [a 2-1 loss earlier in the competition]. 

“We know Belgium very well and they know us very well. Obviously they are a very good team. Anything can happen there.”

Wales’ run to the quarter-finals in their first appearance at a major tournament since 1958 has captured the imagination back in their homeland.

Taylor acknowledged it is something his team-mates are yet to fully come to terms with due to being holed up in their Dinar training base. 

“We are just going to enjoy it,” he said. “It hasn’t really sunk in yet, we’re just in a quiet corner of France. 

“It has been amazing. We are 180 minutes away from the final. 

“I think the fans can see a route to the final but we have just played Northern Ireland and we know how tough it is. 

“Anybody we play now will be another very tough game. Anything can happen and we’re just hoping that whatever luck has been with us just carries on.”

Taylor added: “The atmosphere in dressing room was great because we realised what we had achieved. 

“It wasn’t an amazing game against Northern Ireland but in 10 years’ time it won’t say ‘bad game’, it will say that we won 1-0. It has just been amazing.”

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