Rob Page: ‘We’ve already been out and picked the hotel’ ahead of EURO2024 playoff final

Cymru head coach Rob Page feels that if his side play to their highest levels against Poland in their European Championship play-off final at the Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday, there is no reason they can’t make this summer’s tournament. 

The dream of three successive appearances at the finals remains very much alive for the Welsh, who have lost just once in their last 16 home matches. Having brushed aside Finland 4-1 in Thursday night’s semifinal, the Dragons will come into the match full of confidence against a Polish outfit who haven’t been without a few issues in the camp in recent months – both on and off the pitch. 

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After under-performing in qualifying Group E and finishing behind both lower-ranked Albania and Czechia, Michal Probierz’s side brushed aside their problems to thrash Estonia 5-1 in Warsaw to set up the winner-takes-all battle in the Welsh capital tomorrow night. 

With a spot in Group D on the line and a summer schedule with France, the Netherlands and Austria in Germany, Page feels that despite the underdog tag, his side’s growing confidence can see them through. 

‘We’ve had a great couple of days,’ said the Cymru boss. ‘Understandably we’re full of confidence, but it’s an opportunity to reset and throw full focus on another challenge for us.’

‘It would be a great achievement to qualify. You’re always going to get bumps in the road, especially when you’re in transition – which we’re in.’

‘To play [in] the manner we have and score the goals we have really pleases me. I’d be an extremely proud man to get the job done.’

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‘One of the things we took from the World Cup – Canada, Morocco, USA’s midfield three – they were athletic. We’re getting there, with JJ [Jordan James] and Ethan [Ampadu] in the middle of the park.’

The Poles’ major threat will once again come from veteran Barcelona forward Robert Lewandowski as they look to preserve a record of six unbeaten matches against the Welsh, including home and away victories in the Nations League in 2022.  

‘We know they’ve got an abundance of quality,’ continued Page. ‘They’re in this playoff for a reason – they would have been favourites to qualify. We’ll take note of that.’

‘It’s about us playing to the best we can play. If we match the levels we can, certainly at home, the result takes care of itself.’

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‘[Robert] Lewandowski is a fantastic player. We respect that. But it stops there. We’ll show the defenders his strengths and weaknesses. Individually they’ve got some good players.’ 

‘Now we’re on this path, we’re only going to grow better by having these experiences with young players. It will only benefit us when we come to games like this in the future.’

‘I’ve told them though, we’ve already been out and picked the hotel, picked the training ground and we’re all excited about that. It’s motivation in itself to get the job done.’