Wales vs Latvia: Euro 2024 Qualifying
Aaron Ramsey says earning a last-gasp draw against World Cup semi-finalists Croatia has helped Wales to move on from their World Cup disappointment.
Robert Page’s side made an ideal start to their Euro qualifying campaign as Nathan Broadhead’s 93rd-minute debut goal saw Wales snatch a point in Split.
Wales were playing for the first time since the World Cup when they were eliminated at the group stage.
“It was important to get a point on the board and get some momentum,” he said.
“For us to put what happened in the World Cup behind us now and look forward again, it was important for us to get that result.
“Now we need to take care of our home games, which we have done well in previous campaigns.”
Wales boss Page knows his side must beat Latvia to back up their unexpected point in Croatia in a game they will be expected to win.
Latvia are 133rd in the FIFA world rankings, 105 places below Wales in 28th.
Only Lithuania, Andorra, Malta, Moldova, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar and San Marino are ranked lower in Europe.
Latvia warmed up for their visit to the Welsh capital with a narrow 3-2 friendly defeat by the Republic of Ireland in Dublin.
Page says a need to take a patient approach against Latvia influenced his decision to manage the minutes of Aaron Ramsey, Kieffer Moore, Daniel James and Harry Wilson in Split.
“We’ve got to be sensible. Four points is what we targeted,” he said.
“The front four aren’t playing at club level. If they played 95 minutes, would we get the best out of them on Tuesday?
“We are looking at Latvia as the winnable game. So it was always the plan.
“That was a bonus point for us the other night. The plan going into it [these games] was: ‘If we can get four points, great; six, we’ve won the lottery, brilliant’.
“We will take four points going into the June camp.”
Wales to honor Bale
Wales are expected to give their retired players a warm send-off before their opening home Euro qualifier.
Wales has confirmed that men’s all-time record scorer Gareth Bale will be honored in a pre-match ceremony.
Bale is expected to address what is anticipated to be a sold-out crowd.
Skipper Ramsey is hoping for a special night as his son, Sonny, leads Wales out with him.
“The pressure is on us now to take the initiative in the game and try and come up with solutions to break them down,” he added.
“To lead out Wales, that’s going to be a really proud moment for me to do that in front of my family and my friends at home at a special, special stadium in front of our fans.
“I am sure if we are mentally right we will have a good night.”
The hosts have no new injury issues, with Page again reiterating that Nottingham Forest striker Brennan Johnson is unavailable.
“I’ve aired my frustration on Brennan,” Page said.
“Wales fans want to see Brennan play for Wales, but there is no chance of him coming back for Tuesday.”
Wales can win group
Latvia manager Dainis Kazakevics says Wales can top Euro 2024 qualifying group D after drawing in Croatia.
“I was not surprised by the Croatia result. Wales has qualified for major finals and can get first spot in the qualification,” he said.
“The level of the Wales team is very high, even without Gareth Bale.
“He was a very good player and a leader in the team, but Wales is still dangerous without him.
“Wales has got a lot of potential in the attacking group, which can compensate for the absence of the previous leaders.”