Wales can hold their heads high as they head to Amsterdam for the last 16 of the European Championships despite falling to a 1-0 defeat to Italy in Rome giving the home side a perfect record in the group as they make their way towards Wembley.
A late first half goal from a well worked free kick was enough to give the Italians a third successive win and Wales battled hard despite the sending off of Ethan Ampadu in the early stages of the second half.
Despite the personnel disadvantage at that stage, Wales could – and possibly should – have got themselves level but Gareth Bale blazed over when well placed after another good move saw the ball break to him unmarked in the penalty area.
Danny Ward was on hand with another superb performance to keep the Italians restricted to just one goal and, despite a Swiss victory over Turkey in Baku, the scoreline was enough to secure progress for Wales and a date in Amsterdam next Saturday evening.
We will find out our opponents this evening when the outcome of Group B is finalised with the Welsh opponents to come from Denmark, Finland or Russia for a place in the last eight.
Gareth Bale: “We knew it was going to be a difficult game but we got the job done, finished second
“It was a little bit disappointing to lose the game, it’s natural, but the boys just grafted, ran all day and did what we had to do.
“We really dug deep. We showed the character again and I’m proud of everybody.”
Robert Page: “Of course it does because we’ve got second spot, it’s that feeling of winning
“Don’t underestimate the character of a Welshman. It’s phenomenal what the changing room has got in there. I’m bursting with pride.
“Now the real stuff starts.”