Italy 1 Wales 0: Dragons through to knockouts despite loss as Pessina maintains Azzurri's 100 per cent Euro 2020 record

WALES came under siege in the Roman fortress but held firm to clinch a place in the knock-out stages.

The Dragons had to play the last 35 minutes with only 10 men after the straight red card shown to Ethan Ampadu.

Matteo Pessina’s first half goal proved enough to extend Italy’s incredible unbeaten run to a record-equalling 30 matches.

But Joe Rodon, Danny Ward and Co dug deep to ensure they held off Switzerland on goal difference to go through in second spot.

That means they move on to Amsterdam – where they are likely to face either Russia, Finland or Denmark on Saturday.

Not a bad outcome considering Robert Page’s men have struggled in two of their three group matches.

Here Wales were under the cosh for much of the first half – although a rare attack saw Chris Gunter land a header of the roof of the net.

But Roberto Mancini’s men had also gone close through Pessina and Andrea Bellotti as they looked to nail down top spot- and a trip to Wembley on Saturday.

And they finally made the breakthrough just before the break as a foul on Federico Chiesa from Joe Allen gave away a free-kick out on the right.

It was swung over by PSG playmaker Marco Verratti and Pessina got to it first and just guided his shot across Ward and into the far corner.


Federico Bernardeschi thumped a free-kick against the post early in the second half while Aaron Ramsey got in behind the Italy backline but could not apply the finish.

Then 10 minutes after the break there was another huge setback as Chelsea youngster Ethan Ampadu went in on Bernardeschi.

It was late and it was high but it did not look nasty – yet the Romanian ref pulled out his red card and there was no reprieve from the VAR.

Just a couple of months short of his 21st birthday, Ampadu becomes the youngest player to be sent off at the Euro finals.

With Switzerland winning comfortably in Baku, Wales were hanging on to second place by their finger tips and Ward made a superb save to deny Andrea Bellotti.

Gareth Bale could have lifted the pressure when a Connor Roberts free-kick was nodded back across goal by sub Kieffer Moore but the Real Madrid man wastefully volleyed over.

Against a team who had won 11 in a row and have not conceded a goal in over 1000 minutes, chances do not come much better than that.

Meanwhile Bale has not scored in his last 14 matches for his country and must wonder where the next goal is coming from.

Wales dug in and Ward was there to save again when Bryan Cristiante’s shot took a deflection.

Only losing by one goal will feel like one of the best defeats ever for the Dragons.

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