Rob Page insists Wales can still qualify despite Turkey defeat

Rob Page insists Wales can still qualify despite Turkey defeat

Rob Page insists Wales can still automatically qualify for Euro 2024 next summer, despite suffering a second successive group defeat in Turkey.

Wales suffered a 2-0 loss in Samsun on the back of Friday’s horror show against Armenia, when opponents ranked 97th in the world claimed a 4-2 victory in Cardiff.

Having reached the halfway point of their eight-game campaign, Wales are five points behind leaders Turkey and two adrift of Armenia who have a game in hand.

Group favourites Croatia are level on points with Wales having played two fewer games.

Wales are almost certainly guaranteed a play-off spot through their Nations League ranking, but manager Page insists his side can secure one of the automatic two qualifying spots on offer in Group D.

“Absolutely (I believe that),” said Page, who has overseen just one win in 12 games since Wales qualified for the World Cup last June.

“To do it, we need to get both sides of the game bang on and do it really well, if we are to be successful.

“It’s been a frustrating camp but there have been so many lessons to learn from it.

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Turkey’s Umut Nayir celebrates scoring the opening goal in Turkey’s 2-0 win over Wales (Murat Akbas/Dia Images via AP)

“We will address it. We go into every game to win it. It just means it’s really important we get wins at home and get as many points from them.”

Wales were left with an uphill task from the 41st minute when midfielder Joe Morrell caught Ferdi Kadioglu high with his studs and was sent off.

It was Wales’ second red card in as many games after Kieffer Moore was dismissed against Armenia.

Danny Ward saved Hakan Calhanoglu’s 64th-minute penalty after Aaron Ramsey had handled Kadioglu’s cross.

But Turkey’s pressure told as substitutes Umut Nayir and Arda Guler scored in the final 18 minutes.

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Wales defender Joe Rodon (right) vies for the ball with Turkey’s Baris Alper Yilmaz (Murat Akbas/Dia Images via AP)

Page said: “Whenever you come to Turkey away, you know it’s a tough test.

“Having said that, before the sending off, I thought we matched them and I was really pleased with the performance defensively, which we obviously addressed off the back of Friday’s result.

“With the ball I thought we got Aaron and others in great positions up the pitch and we were brave to play through them.

“We looked at the footage and we thought that was an area we could exploit and that was working up until the sending off happens. Completely changes the game.

“Up until the 70th minute I thought we defended our box really well, only one cross into our own box and it cost us, that first goal.

“He (Morrell) is not intentionally doing it. He’s got his eye on the ball, but when you put your foot that high, you run the risk of getting a red card.

“He knows it. There’s nobody more disappointed than Joe in the changing room.”

Turkey boss Stefan Kuntz was relieved to get the victory, especially after his side twice had the ball in the net only to be denied by VAR checks.

Kuntz said: “I might need to wait next time until I cheer. It’s been a difficult time for us and for the fans and in the second half we needed to be calmer.

“We tried to manage the game in the second half and the fans were very helpful.”