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Robbie Savage’s verdict as Wales do what he’s never seen before at Euro 2020

They are not ‘Little Wales’ any more – in tournament football, they are now the team who keep raising the bar.

Quite rightly, people still talk about the quarter-final win against Belgium five years ago, and the spirit of Rob Page’s team here was reminiscent of 2016.

But for desire and tenacity, this was exceptional – and when Wales play with such passion, anything is achievable.

I know I can get a bit excitable in the commentary box at times, but this is my country doing something I never experienced as a player: Bossing it at a major tournament.

And I couldn’t be prouder.

Gareth Bale of Wales celebrates after their side’s second goal scored by Connor Roberts

Gareth Bale supplied the assists for both goals and, despite his penalty miss, he was the best player on the pitch.

The supporting cast were all fantastic, from keeper Danny Ward’s wonderful late save to Joe Rodon, who was magnificent at the back, and Kieffer Moore will wear his cuts and bruises with pride.

But the three who played behind Moore – Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Dan James – were outstanding.

And why should anyone be surprised at the quality of three players who ply their trade at Manchester United, Juventus and Real Madrid?

Before his goal, Ramsey had spurned two glorious opportunities earlier, trying to catch out Turkish keeper Ugurcan Cakir at his near post and then blazing over the top.

But he is at his best when he breaks the lines, gets forward and runs in behind the last defender.

Ramsey’s first international goal since November 2019 was a reward for his energy and enterprise, the technical perfection of his chest trap and a delightful finish clipped into the corner.

The killer pass came from a familiar source, and a reminder that class is permanent.

Yes, his penalty miss was a big surprise – I’ve never seen him stutter in his run-up before, and it seemed to put Bale himself off more than the keeper – but his response, and the character he showed, was absolutely top-drawer.

Aaron Ramsey (L) celebrates with Wales' midfielder Daniel James after scoring
Aaron Ramsey (L) celebrates with Wales’ midfielder Daniel James after scoring

Bale has always worn the Wales shirt with pride, and always summons the dragon’s fire when the stakes are highest.

And his pass to pick out Ramsey’s perfectly-timed run was top-class vision and high-class execution from a world-class act.

Now Wales move on to Rome with one foot in the last 16, and they don’t need to face Italy with a damage-limitation mentality.

Why not go there, attack Italy on their home turf and try to win the group?

After all, this is not ‘little’ Wales any more. After five wins in their last eight games at the Euros, they can dare to think big.



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