Wales facing the Blank Page Syndrome
Sixty-four years that Wales have been waiting to return to the World Cup. Sixty-four years that the country was stamping to see a team walking in the footsteps of that of Jack Kelsey, Ivor Allchurch, Terry Medwin and John Charles, quarter-finalist in Sweden. Schools even interrupted classes last Friday so that schoolchildren could attend the meeting against Iran, scheduled for the morning. « It’s a historic moment for Wales, for us, to be at the World Cuppraised Gareth Bale a few hours before. I think a lot of schools will broadcast the game. It’s a mini history lesson! » As a bonus to this history lesson, the schoolchildren attended a football lesson. Unfortunately, at their expense.
Eaten up in duels, overwhelmed by the rhythm and the will of the Team Melli, the Dragons logically bit the dust in added time (0-2). A poor performance that called for a reaction of pride when challenging the English neighbor on Tuesday. It has not happened. The system change made by Rob Page, from 3-4-3 to 4-3-3, did not have the expected result against a superior team in all areas. Non-existent in the first period and weighed down by a big lack of precision in the transmissions (65% of successful passes in the first 45 minutes), the Welsh showed nothing. Barely the shadow of a reaction, coming from the ghost Joe Allen. But not from captain Gareth Bale…
7 – Gareth Bale during his match against England: 7 balls hit, 5 lost 1 duel (lost) 4 assists (1 successful) 0 shot Replaced. #WALENG pic.twitter.com/VrOOFFTaEg
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) November 29, 2022
The coach released his star at the break, officially because he felt discomfort in his hamstrings. Anyway, the one who was expected as the leader of his formation failed in the great widths. The Los Angeles FC player became the first Welshman to score in the World Cup since Terry Medwin, converting a penalty he had himself obtained, with intelligence, against the United States. Apart from that? Nothingness. If he was not particularly helped by his teammates, the man with 111 selections failed where we were entitled to expect him, in the attitude, to sound the revolt and shake his troops. In view of his distressing stats sheet (seven balls for five lost, only one successful pass), we nevertheless say to ourselves that a blind man would find it difficult to help one-eyed people.
Of Aaron Ramsey et al.’s three games in Qatar, we will remember that they only played one half, which allowed them to take a point against the United States. Far from the team that took the world of football with them during the fabulous summer of 2016. Wales had the merit of returning to the big leagues, and the pride of displaying their colors in front of hundreds of millions of people. The supporters followed until the end, and even after this setback against the English, still offering an intense moment of communion by singing the sublime Hen Wlad fy Nhadau with the players. On the ground, on the other hand, the queen of competitions will not have been that of emotion.
The Welsh return home having only seven shots on target in three games, including one from the penalty spot. Decisive against Belgium and the Netherlands in June, Brennan Johnson could have energized this team, but had only crumbs. Joe Allen’s late return from injury may not have helped. Wayne Hennessey’s kamikaze exit, while the Welsh held a draw as best they could against Iran, either. Rob Page, some of whose choices were already discussed, could almost paraphrase André Villas-Boas: “To do shit, you have to already be there. We’re here and we’re doing shit. It’s like that. We must do better. » While waiting for the next World Cup, the Six Nations Tournament is coming quickly. Fortunately for Welsh schoolchildren, because if they do not necessarily win, the Leek XV will have things to show.