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Pressure mounts on Wales boss Rob Page after hammering in Slovakia

09 Jun 2024 4 minute read
Rob Page is interviewed after the Slovakia defeat

Phil Blanche, PA

Depleted Wales were hammered 4-0 in Slovakia to pile further pressure on beleaguered boss Rob Page.

Slovakia got the perfect Euro 2004 send-off as Juraj Kucka and Robert Bozenik struck either side of the break, with Wales goalkeeper Danny Ward at fault for the opener on the stroke of half-time.

Ethan Ampadu, leading Wales for the first time, unfortunately turned the ball into his own net on the hour and Laszlo Benes’ superb late strike completed the rout.

The pressure has cranked up on Page since Wales missed out on this summer’s European Championship, and two June friendlies have proved nothing short of a disaster for him.

Page was booed by Wales’ fans after Thursday’s goalless friendly draw against Gibraltar, the world’s 203rd-ranked team who had not avoided defeat in a 14-game run stretching back to November 2022.

Some of those supporters had called for Page to be sacked, but the manager insisted that he was focused on the future and determined to blood young players ahead of the Nations League campaign in the autumn.

Page had more senior players at his disposal for this Trnava friendly, but Slovakia blew them away in a devastating 16-minute spell either side of the interval.

Wales were without the entire defence that had lined up against Poland in the Euro play-off final defeat on penalties – Ben Davies, Chris Mepham, Connor Roberts, Joe Rodon and Neco Williams.

The creativity of Aaron Ramsey, David Brooks and Harry Wilson was also missing, and Page ripped up his favoured formation to play four at the back with Ampadu moved there from his usual midfield station.

Slovakia were keen to get the party started with Ward getting down low to deny Bozenik and Lukas Haraslin curling wide inside the opening four minutes.

Wales offered a counter-attacking threat through Brennan Johnson and Daniel James, with the Leeds winger particularly lively on the left.

But Slovakia’s superiority told as Ben Cabango got in the way of another Haraslin effort and Ampadu blocked Ondrej Duda’s goalbound effort.

They also had the ball in the Wales net after 25 minutes as David Hancko met Duda’s cross with a fine header.

The assistant referee had no hesitation raising his flag for offside, but the absence of VAR possibly did Wales a favour on closer inspection.

Bozenik headed over from six yards before Wales mounted their first serious attacks inside the final 10 minutes of the first period.

Kieffer Moore met Josh Sheehan’s free-kick to force a smart save from Martin Dubravka, and the Bournemouth striker was denied again from the following corner after Cabango had won his aerial duel at the far post.

Johnson also fired wide from a tight angle after Nathan Broadhead had spurned a better shooting opportunity.

As the first-half clock ticked down Slovakia struck through Kucka, who had scored against Wales in a Euro 2020 qualifier on the same ground.

The impressive Hasalin broke down the right and squared to Kucka, and his 25-yard drive bisected Ampadu and Cabango with Ward rooted to the spot.

Ward escaped after the break as the ball ricocheted onto the bar as Denis Vavro challenged him from a corner. The ball rebounded into Ward’s grateful hands.

Slovakia doubled their lead as Bozenik tucked away Hancko’s cross and there was further despair for Wales as Haraslin’s spectacular volley hit Ampadu to beat Ward again.

Dubravka denied Wes Burns a consolation from close range and Benes’ brilliant effort in the final seconds completed a night to forget for Wales.

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22 hours ago

Euro 2016 set the bar for us. There is no excuse for us not to qualify for major tournaments. If Croatia a country of 4 million is capable of reaching a world cup final then Wales is just as capable of making wonders. Page should go now

12 hours ago

What should surprise me, but doesn’t , was his statement, that during the game, that he could see there were sometimes 6 Slovaks against our 4 players, yet he did nothing to change the system to counter the imbalance. This has been a constant in his time as manager, not being able to adapt to different game plans, when his plan “A” has failed. Sorry, he is not up to the job and needs to go ASAP.

11 hours ago
Reply to  Gareth

Exactly, you could see this in the players, take Sheehan for example, the amount of times he followed the Slovakian midfielder only to allow him to lay it off to his defender and they immediately sprint back 20 years onto his position in midfield, which allowed for the Slovakian midfielder to just receive the ball back from his defender. You can clearly see they are trained regimentally and can not adapt to certain situations. This is a sign of clearly being focused on a single game plan!

5 hours ago

They lost 4 – 0 it happens! It is not a hammering..

17 minutes ago
Reply to  Charles

It is, when the team that beat you are ranked at 48 and we areh at 29 in the EUEFA rankings, and we had just drawn a game with the team ranked 203 in the world out of 210 teams.

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