Thursday, April 25, 2024

Wales begin bid for play-off glory – 5 talking points ahead of Finland clash

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 20 Mar 2024

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Wales entertain Finland in a Euro 2024 play-off semi-final on Thursday.

The winners will progress to a home final against Estonia or Poland five days later for a place at Euro 2024 this summer.

Here, the PA news agency studies some of the main talking points surrounding the Cardiff City Stadium clash.

Here we go again

Wales have fond play-off memories after reaching the 2022 World Cup through football’s version of the last-chance saloon. Austria and Ukraine were both beaten in Cardiff as Wales made the most of home advantage – and the Dragons have again been dealt a kind hand to qualify for Euro 2024. On those occasions, however, Gareth Bale was the difference and Wales can no longer call on their retired superstar. It is time for the post-Bale generation to stand up, with Wales on the brink of a third successive European Championship and a fourth major tournament in five.

Ramsey risk?

Skipper Aaron Ramsey was named in the Wales squad despite not having started a game for six months. The Cardiff midfielder managed 25 minutes in his latest comeback from injury on Saturday and, even at 33, a fully-fit Ramsey would be a huge asset for Wales. Ramsey trained alone on Monday, following his own fitness programme, and starting against Finland would surely represent a huge risk, especially as Ethan Ampadu and Jordan James have become an effective midfielder partnership in front of a three-man defence.

Forward firepower

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