Euro 2020: 'A stressful night but now Wales are smiling' - Ashley Williams

I wasn’t burdened as a result of I assumed we may be going out of Euro 2020; it was as a result of we desperately wished to get by way of on the evening.

We actually did not wish to find yourself in third place in Group A as a result of not solely wouldn’t it most likely imply a more durable draw within the final 16, we additionally would not have identified whether or not we have been undoubtedly by way of for a couple of extra days.

So, each time Conor McNamara got here on Radio 5 Live with updates from the opposite sport within the group, Switzerland’s win over Turkey, I had my head in my fingers as a result of I wasn’t certain what he was going to say.
The Swiss scored so early and what began out as them needing a five-goal swing in objective distinction to complete above us, was shortly down to 3, then two.

You begin pondering ‘it may be a type of nights’ however, regardless of the state of affairs, it’s so totally different for me watching Wales in comparison with what it was like taking part in for them.

On the pitch, you at all times really feel like you possibly can have an effect on the sport and do one thing. Now, I see issues develop approach earlier than the gamers most likely can.

During the Italy sport, I used to be shouting on the display to attempt to assist them out however clearly that is not going to vary something.

I used to be so concerned I used to be yelling ‘come on Turkey!’ too however, in the long run, the Wales gamers acquired the job accomplished themselves in Rome. It was improbable to see.

Wales attain final 16 regardless of defeat in Rome
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The defeat that began our celebrations
Our 10 males did so effectively to carry on as a result of Italy have been nonetheless coming ahead within the last minute, attempting to attain a second objective.

I could not consider it – I used to be shouting at them as effectively, saying ‘give it a relaxation!’

Our gamers would have had an thought about what was happening within the different sport in Baku, however they stayed completely centered, defended effectively and took care of the issues they might.

When the ultimate whistle went and we had misplaced 1-0, it was an enormous reduction – I solely skilled one defeat with Wales that introduced the same emotion.

That was after we misplaced 2-0 to Bosnia-Herzegovina in our penultimate qualifier for Euro 2016. It wasn’t make or break, however we knew we might be by way of no matter occurred if Cyprus beat Israel in a sport that had kicked off at precisely the identical time as ours.

The last whistle went in our sport and I appeared straight throughout at our supervisor, Chris Coleman. He was wanting straight again at us along with his arms out, saying ‘I do not know if we’re by way of’.

It was the response of Mark Evans, one of many FAW officers, that advised us what we wished to know.

He ran on to the pitch dancing, and we knew we had made it – though we did not understand how – and that it was time to have fun.


This provides Wales some much-needed cheer
It was a fantastic feeling being within the camp after we beat Russia to clinch our spot within the knockout stage at Euro 2016.

This feels superb too, wanting in from the surface. I mentioned earlier than this event that it might be an achievement to get out of our group and I’m so pleased with the boys for doing it.

Just making it to those European Championship finals was improbable, after all, however reaching the knockout levels is an enormous step on from there.

So, the boys have accomplished brilliantly. It has been a troublesome few months for everybody in Wales however now this crew have given them one thing to cheer about and sit up for.

When we have been based mostly in France final time, at first we did not realise in our camp fairly how a lot a distinction our outcomes would make again residence.

We came upon all about that due to the stunning letters and messages we might get and you start to grasp the affect you’re having on folks’s lives.

It is identical this time. The squad can sit again with a smile on their faces and wait to seek out out who they play subsequent from Group B.
It might be going to be Finland, Russia or Denmark however I do not actually thoughts – they’re all a lot of a muchness, actually.

Depending on who we find yourself taking part in in Amsterdam, we would even be favourites however that simply brings a special set of issues.

Whoever we play, now we have acquired till Saturday to prepare for it, however it should most likely be a case of recovering from a couple of sore heads first!

Five years in the past, we had a couple of beers after the Russia sport that despatched us by way of, and the 2021 squad undoubtedly deserve the identical.

Rodon, Ward and Moore have been distinctive
The entire crew have accomplished brilliantly previously week or so however there have been some stand-out particular person performances too.

I picked out Joe Rodon as a participant to look at earlier than Euro 2020 began and he has been sensible for us on the again in his first main finals.

Another star Welsh performer for me has been Danny Ward – it was such an enormous name for Rob Page to place him in objective.

Wardy made some large saves in all three of our group video games and he has acquired to be one of many goalkeepers of the event up to now.

And Kieffer Moore deserves a whole lot of credit score too. We missed him within the early levels towards Italy though I completely perceive the choice behind him beginning the sport on the bench as a result of he got here into that sport on a reserving.

The entire crew discovered it robust in Rome, after all, however I feel that take a look at will do us a whole lot of good.

We didn’t stick with it our momentum from the Turkey win with a constructive end result this time however our efficiency on Sunday will give us plenty of confidence for no matter comes subsequent.


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