Wales players not scared of anyone in World Cup play-offs

By Sports Desk November 16, 2021

Aaron Ramsey and Kieffer Moore insisted Wales will not fear facing any of their potential opponents on home soil in the World Cup play-offs for Qatar 2022.

Wales finished second in Group E to earn home advantage in March's play-offs after they fought back from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Belgium on Tuesday.

Kevin De Bruyne had put Belgium ahead early in the game before Moore equalised just after the half hour.

Moore's goal was his eighth for Wales since making his international debut in September 2019 – more than any other Wales player in that time.

"It's so important to get a home draw," Moore told Sky Sports.

"If you look at the teams that have come in second, the likes of Portugal and Italy - it's been a bit nervy. But nights like this, I'd back us to take on anyone.

"We left everything out there. We gave everything for that performance because we knew we needed a result.

"The noise after that goal, it was just incredible. I can't explain it, I was lost for words. It's some feeling, I'll say that. The Red Wall [Wales fans] are amazing.

"We knew that Belgium would try and keep as much possession as much as possible so we knew we had to be compact, be tight and not let them through us so that we could get them on the counter-attack."

Wales have lost just two of their last 20 World Cup qualifying matches (won nine, drawn nine) and are unbeaten in their last seven heading into the play-offs next March.

They have also finished in the top two of a World Cup qualifying group for the first time since qualification for the 1966 World Cup, when they finished second (only the first-placed teams qualified that year).

Wales captain Ramsey hailed the willingness of his team-mates put their heads where it hurts against Belgium to clinch a play-off spot.

He added: "Full credit to the boys, they put in a massive shift again against top opposition.

"We always believed we could get a result, especially with our fans behind us. It's another good night for us.

"We build our foundations on everybody putting in a shift for each other, putting their bodies on the line, and we managed to do that again tonight.

"There's some big, big teams still in it but it was so important that we had a home tie. You could see the atmosphere tonight – it's a special place to come and play. Hopefully that will give us an extra edge in that first play-off."

Wales boss Robert Page acknowledged his side suffered from the absence of the injured Gareth Bale against Belgium, with hopes of reaching first World Cup since 1958 now tantalising within reach.

He said: "We're always going to miss Gareth but there's so much he brings to this team off the pitch too, just having him around the dressing room. He wanted to be with us tonight, he's a proper captain.

"When the crowd is behind us like it was tonight, we'll take on anyone. We're not done yet; we're dreaming of a World Cup but it's definitely achievable."

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    The Reds were 1-0 down at the time, but still managed to salvage a point after Luis Diaz equalised Wilfried Zaha's first-half opener with a thunderous effort from all of 25 yards at the Kop end.

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    The German coach was philosophical despite the fact his team still await their first win of the season, and already sit four points behind rivals Manchester City in the Premier League table.

    Klopp has a number of players missing through injury, including Ibrahima Konate and Joel Matip, meaning Nat Phillips had to start in defence with Joe Gomez only fit enough for a late cameo from the bench, while Thiago Alcantara, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino are also currently unavailable.

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