herald

Saturday 14 December 2019

Ramsey: It would everything to qualify

DETERMINED: Wales’ Aaron Ramsey. Pic: PA
DETERMINED: Wales’ Aaron Ramsey. Pic: PA

Aaron Ramsey is determined to relive his best experience in football by helping Wales reach the 2020 European Championship.

Ramsey played a huge role in Wales' march to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 when the Juventus playmaker was named in the official team of the tournament.

But injuries had prevented Ramsey from featuring in Euro 2020 qualifying until he came on for the final half-hour of Wales' 2-0 win in Azerbaijan on Saturday evening.

Wales' qualification destiny is now in their own hands as victory over Hungary in Cardiff tomorrow will secure second spot in Group E and a ticket to next summer's finals.

"It would mean everything again (to qualify)," Ramsey said.

"We missed out on the World Cup, which was very disappointing.

"We had the best time ever at the Euros and we want to experience something like that again. We have a lot of new faces that haven't experienced that, so for them as well it would be massive."

Wales were in a similar position two years ago in World Cup qualifying for Russia 2018. Chris Coleman's side would have qualified automatically had they beaten the Republic of Ireland in Cardiff and Serbia failed to overcome Georgia.

But Wales, who were without the injured Gareth Bale, lost 1-0 and even missed out on a play-off spot with the Republic leapfrogging them into second place.

"We had some unfortunate injuries on that night, which I think played a part," Ramsey said.

"I think we did the hardest part here to get the win, to come away to a place like this is always tricky.

"Croatia came here and drew last time, so we know how difficult that is. It's good to be back. I felt sharp out there and I had some nice little touches. I got a bit of a cut on my head but all is good."

Ramsey replaced Bale in Baku - also taking the captain's armband for the final 30 minutes - after Wales' talisman had returned following a month out with a calf problem. Ryan Giggs said in his post-match assessment that Bale was "blowing a little bit", but the Wales manager looks set to have his two key men available.

"It was a difficult decision," Giggs said. "I thought if both started, then at least one of them wouldn't be able to play on Tuesday. We've still got to assess it. It's a quick turnaround."

 

Euro 2020 qualifier

Wales v Hungary

Live Sky Sp (Tom, KO 7.45)

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