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Joe Rodon counting on Euros experience as Wales face off with foes Finland

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 19 Mar 2024

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Joe Rodon believes Wales can count on their tournament experience against Finland to progress in the Euro 2024 play-offs.

Wales are aiming to qualify for a third successive European Championship and a fourth major tournament in five over the next week.

The winners of Thursday’s semi-final in Cardiff will host either Estonia or Poland on March 26 to decide a place at Euro 2024 in Germany.

Rodon said: “We lost superstars like Gareth Bale and Joe Allen (after the 2022 World Cup) and it was always going to be difficult for the group in transition.

“I don’t think I can speak highly enough of Gaz and Joe. They are icons of Welsh football and the game as well, and it’s going to have an impact on any team.

“But we’ve got players coming up to 50 caps now who have been around quite a bit and have that experience in tournaments.

“It’s not new to us that we’re in situations like this. There’s a really good balance in the group and a good amount of experience.”

Wales are clear favourites against Finland, with home advantage, recent head-to-head results and superior FIFA world ranking all on their side.

Finland are ranked 60th in the world – 31 places below Wales – and lost two Nations League ties to the Dragons in 2020, 1-0 in Helsinki and 3-1 in Cardiff.

But Rodon, 26, is taking nothing for granted, saying: “As a group we never look at it like that.

“We always see ourselves as underdogs in every game we go into.

“But being in Cardiff is always going to help us. The Red Wall has always been our 12th man and that is going to push us on to the end.”

On-loan Leeds defender Rodon has often joined up with Wales on the back of limited game time, be it at parent club Tottenham or Rennes where he had a mixed spell last season.

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