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Opinion: Why the Euro 2024 Play-offs are Rob Page’s last chance as Cymru manager

Cymru face Finland in the semi-final of the Euro 2024 play-offs on March 21.

If Cymru are to lose it would be the first major tournament the nation hasn’t made since 2018 and likely the end of Rob Page’s tenure as manager.

Cymru are set for the play-offs after a poor Euro’s qualifying campaign. Despite getting four points over two games against Croatia and doing the double over Latvia they finished 3rd in the group. The standout reason for Cymru failure came from the 4-2 loss to Armenia at the Cardiff City stadium and then being held to a point in the away fixture.

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This poor campaign followed a largely embarrassing World Cup in 2022 that saw Cymru pick up just one point scoring just one goal, leading to many losing trust in Rob Page as Cymru manager. Page got his side to the World Cup through the play-offs in 2021 beating Austria and Ukraine, so why wouldn’t you trust Page to do it again?

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Gareth Bale. That’s the answer. Bale scored all three goals in the semi-finals and final of the play-offs, carrying the side to the World Cup. He also scored Cymru’s only goal at the competition itself. Since qualifying for the World Cup, Page have won just three games in competitive fixtures.

Cymru have struggled with fitness issues in previous years but that can’t be an excuse for the side now as most of the squad are getting regular minutes and performing well at club level. Kieffer Moore, who had started just two games during the Euros qualifying campaign, now has 6 goals in 9 Ipswich games. Brennan Johnson has now has 10 goal contributions for Spurs this season and Dan James is in the best form of his career with Leeds scoring 11 goals and creating 7 assists.

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With a fully fit squad that’s firing at club level this should be Page’s best chance at getting over the line this month and book Cymru’s ticket to Germany. Wales overall have a squad that should be at least qualifying for tournaments with the side having a majority of Premier League quality players.

Page has a massive test ahead of him needing to first get past Finland before facing one of Poland or Estonia in the final to go to Germany. Page definitely deserved his chance to see out the campaign but if Wales fail to qualify it’s time to move on to the next chapter.

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