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World Cup 2022 qualifying: Wales face ‘two cup finals’ in November, says boss Page

Robert Page
Robert Page has been part of Wales’ senior management team since 2019

Wales’ last two World Cup qualifiers at home to Belarus and Belgium in November will be like “two cup finals”, says manager Robert Page.

Wales are third in Group E, trailing second-placed Czech Republic on goal difference but with a game in hand.

Page’s men are all but guaranteed a play-off spot thanks to their Nations League success, but finishing second in their World Cup qualifying group could secure a more favourable draw.

“They’re knockout games,” said Page.

“Two cup finals left – and that’s how we’re going to treat it.

“We want all of our best players available and every player will be, because they’re two big games and they’ll all want to be involved in that. We’ll have the crowd behind us and we can’t wait.

“It’s two cup finals, at home with a full house – bring it on.”

With Belgium five points clear at the top and almost certain to secure the only automatic qualification spot as group winners, Wales are looking at the play-offs as their most realistic route to a first World Cup finals since 1958.

They edged past Estonia with a 1-0 win in Tallinn on Monday to keep their hopes of finishing second in their own hands.

Wales end their regular qualifying campaign with home matches against Belarus and Belgium next month, while the Czechs host Estonia in their final fixture.

Wales will be without striker Kieffer Moore through suspension against Belarus after he received a yellow card against Estonia.

Moore, who scored the winner in Tallinn, was given a bloody nose by Estonia’s defenders and, while his challenges were tame by comparison, the Cardiff City player picked up his second caution of the campaign.

“Devastated that he’s got the booking, but I’m pleased that he’s got another goal,” added Page.

“He’s prone to getting bookings, and he doesn’t get a lot of protection at times.

“I was frustrated first half. It took 10 or 15 minutes to get a first booking when they could have injured one of our players.

“It is frustrating and, when Kieffer’s got three big centre-halves coming over the top of him, he needs a little bit of protection as well. So I’m disappointed we haven’t got him for [the Belarus game].”

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