Cymru secured promotion to League A of the UEFA Nations League after a confident 3-1 victory over Finland at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Cymru 3-1 Finland
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE
- Wednesday, 18 November 2020
- Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff
Dan James played a pivotal role as Cymru controlled proceedings in Cardiff, as they finished off their Nations League campaign in style, extending Cymru’s unbeaten run to 10 matches.
Things got off to a bright start for Rob Page’s men when a quick counter attack from Cymru released Harry Wilson in on goal. However, the Cardiff City loanee was brought down by Jere Uronen, who saw red, reducing the visitors to ten men after just 12 minutes.
The task was made that much harder for the Finns when Gareth Bale weighted a perfect pass from the edge of the area to meet the diagonal run of Wilson, who fired his effort past Lukas Hradecky to open the scoring for Cymru.
Page made a substitution during the interval, opting to introduce frontman Kieffer Moore for James Lawrence, as Cymru reverted to a four-back formation.
If Page was happy with his side’s first half performance, then he will have been delighted with their start to the second half. After just two minutes, James unleashed a thunderous strike from 25 yards, firing a right footed effort into the top corner, far beyond the reach of Hradecky to extend Cymru’s lead to 2-0.
A period of uncertainty was to come, testing the resolve of Cymru’s defence. Teemu Pukki netted for the Finns, darting in on goal outside Joe Rodon, before firing past Danny Ward to setup a tense final half an hour.
The Finns put the pressure on Cymru, but Manchester United winger James eased any tension when his inch perfect cross was met by the head of Moore, who headed home to fire Cymru 3-1 in front.
Chris Gunter was introduced late on for his 99th cap, as Cymru saw out the victory as they clinched promotion to League A.
Cymru: 1. Danny Ward, 4. Chris Mepham, 6. Joe Rodon, 10. Harry Wilson (7. David Brooks 89’), 11. Gareth Bale (23. Tom Lawrence 63’), 14. Connor Roberts, 15. Ethan Ampadu, 16. Joe Morrell, 17. Rhys Norrington-Davies (2. Chris Gunter 93’), 18. James Lawrence (13. Kieffer Moore 45’), 20. Daniel James (9. Tyler Roberts 89’)
Subs not used: 12. Tom King, 21. Owain Fon Williams, 3. Neco Williams, 5. Tom Lockyer, 8. Jonny Williams, 19. Matthew Smith, 22. Joshua Sheehan
Finland: 1. Lukas Hradecky, 2. Paulus Arajuuri, 4. Joona Toivio, 6. Glen Kamara, 8. Robin Lod, 10. Teemu Pukki (9. Marcus Forss 89’), 11. Rasmus Schüller (14. Onni Valakari 73’), 15. Daniel O’Shaugnessy (22. Nicholas Hämäläinen 61’), 16. Robert Taylor, 17. Nikolai Alho, 18. Jere Uronen
Subs not used: 12. Jesse Joronen, 23. Anssi Jaakkola, 3. Albin Granlund, 5. Juhanji Ojala, 7. Rasmus Karjalainen, 13. Pyry Soiri, 19. Joni Kauko, 21. Ilmari Niskanen