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Wales unfazed at possibility of first-ever penalty shoot-out in Poland decider

26 Mar 2024 3 minute read
Wales’ Ben Davies during a press conference at the Vale Resort, Hensol. Photo Nick Potts/PA Wire.

Ben Davies is confident Wales will prevail should they face a first-ever penalty shoot-out in their Euro 2024 play-off final against Poland.

Wales have never felt the tension of spot-kicks to settle matters at full-time, but that would be the deciding factor should Tuesday’s tie in Cardiff finish level after 120 minutes.

Poland have been involved in two shoot-outs, both at Euro 2016 – overcoming Switzerland in the round of 16 before losing to Portugal at the quarter-final stage.

“Let’s hope it doesn’t get there,” Wales captain Davies said about the possibility of penalties at the Cardiff City Stadium.

“We’ve been practising all week. I don’t know what the line-up is, but we seem to have 11 pretty good ones at the moment.”

Play-offs

Wales do have experience of play-off football, however, having taken this route to beat Austria and Ukraine in qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

Gareth Bale was the difference in both games, scoring all three Wales goals in 2-1 and 1-0 victories, but the Dragons must attempt to qualify now without their retired former captain and talisman.

Tottenham defender Davies said: “It’s been a bit of transition having lost Gareth, who brought so much to this squad.

“If we could get there this time it’s a real team effort and we’d be really proud.

“Most of us played in the game where we got the experience of beating Ukraine in the last play-off.

“It was high stress, the game with the biggest stakes on it, and everyone handled themselves well.

“That’s one thing we pride ourselves on. We’ve got discipline, energy and passion, but overall we’re a proper team.”

Davies is one of four survivors from the current squad that reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016, alongside Aaron Ramsey, Danny Ward and Wayne Hennessey.

Golden era

It has been a golden era for Welsh football as reaching Germany this summer would mean qualification for a third consecutive European Championship and a fourth major tournament out of five.

Wales did not qualify for a single major tournament between 1958 and 2016.

Davies said: “Welsh football was in a pretty sticky place before Euro 2016.

“We felt that would be our best chance to qualify and it was important to break down that barrier to show it is possible.

“To show that qualification is there in your hands, and we’ve had players stepping up in big moments over and over. To do it four times is something that I never imagined happening.”


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