Match Hub: Cymru v Poland
International
25 September 2022

Match Hub: Cymru v Poland

BALE READY FOR POLAND TEST

24 September 20227:18pm

Gareth Bale also spoke to the media earlier today and emphasised the importance of Sunday's match against Poland in the UEFA Nations League. 

"I feel a lot better physically, sleep-wise, and I'm ready to start if the manager selects me," said Bale. "It makes it better for the national team if there's competition in every position, so everyone needs to keep working hard. We want to stay in League A and we want to test ourselves against the best teams, but we know it's been a bit of a different Nations League campaign because of the focus we had on the Ukraine game.

"It's important for us to try and win the game tomorrow night to try and stay in the top league, but it's obviously not as big as qualifying for a major tournament. We're going to give it everything, like we always do. We have a chance to stay in the league by beating Poland. 

"It's going to be a difficult game tomorrow night and we will prepare like we always do and focus on ourselves. The expectation from ourselves is there now. We're competing with these big teams and we're always in the games and that's testament to us. We're definitely on the right trajectory, we're definitely improving and that's the direction we want to continue to go in."

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PAGE AIMING FOR NATIONS LEAGUE WIN

24 September 20227:04pm

Cymru manager Rob Page spoke to the media at the team base this afternoon following the final training session before the crucial UEFA Nations League match against Poland on Sunday night (7.45pm).

"For our development as a nation we want to be playing against the best teams in Europe," Page explained. "So we want to stay in this division, absolutely. We want to expose our younger players now to these types of players and teams, and inevitably we will become better for those experiences. We've given ourselves a fighting chance and we will be approaching the game to win.

"Our supporters are magnificent and they play a massive part in us being successful too. They will be no different tomorrow night and we will need that support. We will go out to get the result that we need to stay in the division. We've had big players step up in the main for big games, and that will be no different tomorrow evening."

Page would not confirm or deny if Gareth Bale would start, but praised the contribution of his captain. "Having seen what he's done for Wales recently, if he's fit and he's available, he's playing," said Page. "He's trained today and done really well. It's common sense with Gareth, he's not played that many minutes for his club and he's had a long journey to get over here. He's trained really well and did really well when he came on the other night, and he's put himself in a position now where he could potentially start for us.

"It's a big game and we need our big players and he falls into that category. He's in a good place at this moment in time, he looked fit when he turned up and he looked in a good place, and he's shown that in training. It is a big game for us, it's a cup final and we want to stay in this league. So to do that you need your best players on the pitch, the best players you can select, and there will be no surprises when you see the team sheet. We've seen some footage on them and they're a very good team. We were unfortunate in the away game to lose 2-1, but we will play a different team against them tomorrow."

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PREPARATIONS CONTINUE

24 September 20223:23pm

The Cymru squad were back on the training ground this morning ahead of the crucial UEFA Nations League match against Poland at the Cardiff City Stadium on Sunday night (7.45pm).

Following the 2-1 defeat against Belgium on Thursday, Cymru must now win the final match of the group to avoid relegation from League A. Chris Mepham and Ethan Ampadu started against Belgium but both will miss the match against Poland through suspension have collected yellow cards in the defeat.

Here a few photos from training earlier today.

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PREVIOUS MEETINGS

23 September 202210:52am

There have been nine previous meetings between Cymru and Poland, but it is almost 50 years since Cymru claimed their one and only victory over their opponents.

Leighton James and Trevor Hockey were the goalscorers for Dave Bowen's side at Ninian Park in that World Cup qualifier in March 1973 as Cymru claimed a 2-0 win, but Poland would win the return match 3-0 in September and would qualify for the finals as group winners.

The two teams were also drawn together in qualifying for the 2002 and 2006 World Cup, with Poland claiming three victories from the four competitive games after Cymru had earned a point in a 0-0 draw away in October 2000. The two nations played out an earlier 0-0 friendly draw in 1991 while Poland claimed a 1-0 victory in a second friendly that took place in February 2009.

The last match between the two nations took place in Wrocław at the start of the current UEFA Nations League campaign as goals from Jakub Kamiński and Karol Swiderski earned Poland a 2-1 victory. Jonny Williams (below) opened the scoring for Cymru early in the 2nd half but it was the home side that would claim the points.

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PAPER ROUND

23 September 202211:05am

Cymru striker Kieffer Moore made the back page headlines across Wales this morning following his goal in the 2-1 defeat to Belgium in Brussels.

Despite the goal it was the home side that claimed the points in the penultimate round of UEFA Nations League games, and Rob Page's side must now beat Poland on Sunday to avoid relegation from League A. Gareth Bale was named on the bench for the defeat and will be in contention to start for this decisive final match of the campaign.

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LEAGUE A4 SITUATION

23 September 202210:42am

Defeats for Cymru and Poland and Thursday night means that everything is to play for on the final day of the UEFA Nations League when the two nations meet in Cardiff on Sunday (7.45pm).

Cymru are still looking for their first victory of the campaign following the 2-1 defeat to Belgium in Brussels, while Poland went down 2-0 at home to the Netherlands. It is a must-win match for manager Rob Page if his side are to avoid relegation from League A, but Poland will provide a tough test having won the corresponding fixture 2-1 in Wroclaw.

Due to the impending World Cup play-off final against Ukraine, Page named an experimental side in that defeat. While injuries have depleted his squad this time around, the side are in much stronger position, and they will also have the backing of the Red Wall behind them.

Here is the current situation in League A4 heading into the final round of games -

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PAGE AIMING FOR TWO NATIONS LEAGUE WINS

21 September 20228:33pm

Rob Page also spoke to the media this morning as the Cymru manager looked ahead to the final two games in this UEFA Nations League group.

"We've got key players out so we have to get the balance right but we also want to stay in this division," said Page. "We want to go and win both games and that's the message we've given to the players. There will be a team selected to go and beat Belgium. It will be a tough game, we know how they play in the main, but it's about us and how we play.

"We will always look back to the first couple of games and there were points we could have picked up, but there was no way that I could have played the same team that beat Ukraine against Holland three days later, it was impossible to do so. There was also no way that I was going to risk any of top players in the first game against Poland. But we still have a chance of staying in the division and our full focus is on that."

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BALE READY FOR NATIONS LEAGUE CHALLENGE

21 September 20228:10pm

Cymru captain Gareth Bale spoke to the media earlier today following his belated arrival at the team base before boarding the plane to Belgium for the first of two crucial UEFA Nations League fixtures.

"It's good to be playing games and getting my fitness back up," said Bale when asked about his time at LAFC. "I only landed this time yesterday but I slept good last night and I'm feeling fine. I'm fit and available and that's the main thing for me. I'm playing games and training and I'm getting stronger and getting fitter. We have a plan in LA and we don't stray away from it too much.

"I'm definitely feeling a lot more sharper, playing games is good for me and it's where I need to be and I need to maintain that level now. I just need to concentrate on the here and now and not look too far ahead. My focus now is on the next two Wales games and we're going to give everything we can to stay in League A."

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CYMRU ARRIVE

21 September 20228:01pm

The Cymru squad arrived in Belgium earlier today ahead of their UEFA Nations League A4 fixture in Brussels on Thursday night (7.45pm).

Captain Gareth Bale was a late arrival to the camp due to his club commitments with LAFC but was on the plane having trained with the rest of the squad in the morning. Following the match against Belgium, the side return to Cardiff to take on Poland on Sunday (7.45pm) in what will be the final match before the World Cup finals.

Cymru are without Aaron Ramsey, Ben Davies, Joe Allen and Harry Wilson through injury but Bale's presence will offer a timely boost for manager Rob Page and his squad as they head into the final two games of this UEFA Nations League campaign.

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PREVIOUS MEETINGS

20 September 20229:09pm

There have been 16 previous meetings between Cymru and Belgium, but while the initial fixture between the two nations dates back to 1949, the teams have met competitively three times in the last 18 months.

Although Belgium won that opening friendly 3-1 in Liege in 1949, Cymru responded to the defeat shortly after through a Trevor Ford hat-trick in a 5-1 victory in Cardiff. The two nations would meet again in October 1990 when Ian Rush, Dean Saunders and Mark Hughes scored in 3-1 victory for Terry Yorath's side. That was the first of six fixtures between the two teams over the course of the next decade, but Cymru would only register one more win with Rush and Ryan Giggs on target in a 2-0 win in Cardiff in 1993.

Cymru boast the better recent form against their opponents as respective 1-1 and 0-0 draws in 2013 and 2014 were followed by two memorable victories. Gareth Bale scored the only goal in EURO 2016 qualifying as Cymru claimed a 1-0 win in Cardiff, while the side famously defeated Belgium in the quarter-finals of the tournament with goals from Ashley Williams, Hal Robson-Kanu and Sam Vokes in Lille.

The two teams came together at the Cardiff City Stadium back in November as Cymru finished runners-up in their World Cup qualifying group with Kieffer Moore on target in 1-1 draw, a result that ensured Cymru would have home advantage in the play-offs. At the start of the qualifying campaign, Belgium defeated Cymru 3-1 away from home, but Brennan Johnson (below) earned his side a share of the points in the return match in June with his first international goal in another 1-1 draw.

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PREPARATIONS CONTINUE

20 September 20229:01pm

The Cymru squad took to the field earlier today as preparations for the final two UEFA Nations League fixtures against Belgium and Poland continued at the team base.

These are the final two games for Rob Page to assess his squad before the World Cup in November, but the manager will also be looking for a few of his younger players to impress as he plans for the future having signed a new four-year contract this month.

Here are a few photos from training earlier today.

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LEAGUE A4 STANDINGS

20 September 20228:58pm

Cymru head into the final two games of their UEFA Nations League A4 campaign bottom of the standings and looking for their first victory.

The side were undefeated when they achieved promotion from League B, but a congested June fixture list has made this a much tougher task for manager Rob Page and his squad. However, relegation can still be avoided results go the right way in these two final games before the World Cup finals in Qatar.

Page will be without the experienced trio of Aaron Ramsey, Ben Davies and Joe Allen through injury, while Harry Wilson continues his recovery and has not been included in the squad. One new name is Birmingham City teenager Jordan James who was initially named in the U21 squad for their friendly against Austria.

Here are the current League A4 standings ahead of Thursday's fixtures as Cymru take on Belgium in Brussels and Poland host the Netherlands.

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Rob Page takes his Cymru team to Belgium for their penultimate match in League A of the UEFA Nations League on Thursday before returning to Cardiff on Sunday to take on Poland.

The match against Belgium takes place at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels and both fixtures kick-off at 7.45pm.

Keep checking this page for all the latest information ahead of the match from the team camp, the press and social media.