Latvia boss backs Wales to top Euro 2024 qualifying group after draw in Croatia
Latvia manager Dainis Kazakevics insists Wales can top their Euro 2024 qualifying group after drawing in Croatia.
Wales picked up a surprise point in their Split opener on Saturday as Nathan Broadhead’s late leveller secured a 1-1 draw against the World Cup semi-finalists.
Rob Page’s side play their second qualifier against Latvia in Cardiff on Tuesday, and Kazakevics insists favourites Croatia can not take top spot in Group D for granted.
He said: “I was not surprised by the Croatia result. Wales has qualified for major finals and can get first spot in the qualification.
“The level of the Wales team is very high, even without (the retired) Gareth Bale.
“He was a very good player and a leader in the team, but Wales are still dangerous without him.
“Wales has got a lot of potential in the attacking group, which can compensate for the absence of the previous leaders.”
Latvia are a lowly 133rd in the FIFA world rankings, 105 places below Wales in 28th.
Only seven teams – Lithuania, Andorra, Malta, Moldova, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar and San Marino – are ranked lower than them in the whole of Europe.
But Latvia topped their last Nations League section to win promotion to Group C, and warmed up for their European Championship opener with a narrow 3-2 friendly defeat to the Republic of Ireland in Dublin.
Kazakevics said: “We have had more opportunities to prepare for this game than we did against Ireland.
“We came from the fifth pot in the qualification draw, but that does not mean we will not be competitive.
“Undoubtedly Wales are the favourites to win this game but we are able to fight for the three points, absolutely.
“We will try to do our best to play our game and be Wales’ equal on the night.”
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