'Unbelievable' – Wales boss Page slams Ampadu red card

Wales coach Robert Page questioned the decision to issue a straight red card to Ethan Ampadu during the defeat to Italy.

Ampadu was given his marching orders in the 55th minute when his studs connected on the ankle of Federico Bernardeschi.

Referee Ovidiu Hategan showed no hesitation in showing Ampadu a red card and Wales were forced to see out much of the second half with just 10 men.

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With Switzerland comfortably beating Turkey in the other group game, Wales couldn’t afford to fall further behind to Italy and risk losing their qualification spot for the next round to the Swiss.

Page was clearly at odds with Ampadu’s sending off, branding the decision “unbelievable”.

“It didn’t quite go to plan the press in the first half,” Page told BBC Sport.

“We addressed it at half-time and we managed to get Ethan Ampadu as the centre of the diamond and get him on the ball a little bit more at the start of the second half.

The sending-off changed the course of the game. I haven’t seen it again yet. I thought it was harsh to get a booking but to see the red card come out was unbelievable.

“Then of course it’s an even bigger hill to climb.”

Wales hung on, however, and can now look forward to a last 16 clash. Italy top Group A after a perfect record in the group stages.

Page’s side will play the Group B runners-up in their next game, which is likely to be Russia, Finland or Denmark with Belgium expected to finish top of that group.

Wales will be without Ampadu due to suspension and midfielder Aaron Ramsey was also disappointed with the referee’s decision to send off the 20-year-old.

Federico Bernardeschi of Italy is fouled by Ethan Ampadu of Wales before he is shown a red card during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group A match

Image credit: Getty Images

“It was tough for long periods. We were up against a great team who have gone 30 games unbeaten – that’s some achievement,” Ramsey said.

But we showed great character, you can never question this team, we always give everything and we dug in.

“I feel sorry for Ethan [Ampadu] – it was a bit harsh maybe. He certainly caught him, it was one of those decisions that could have gone either way.

“It was important to create a couple of opportunities and we could have nicked a draw on another day.

“We need to be more consistent throughout the game but we are through in second place and we are delighted.”

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Italy beat 10-man Wales as both sides go through

Italy made it a perfect three wins from three as they secured first place in Group A with a 1-0 victory over Wales in Rome.

Chris Gunter missed a great chance to put Wales ahead in the first half before Matteo Pessina clipped in a Marco Verratti free kick to give Italy the lead six minutes before half time.

Both sides missed chances in a second half dominated by Italy after a red card for a dangerous challenge by Ethan Ampadu. Italy came the closest when Federico Bernardeschi hit the outside of the post from a free kick.

Euro 2020

‘Unbelievable’ – Wales boss Page slams Ampadu red card

20 HOURS AGO

Italy will now travel to Wembley to face the runners up from Group C, while Wales head to Amsterdam to face the runners up from Group B.

‘Another tournament will now start’ – Mancini on Italy reaching knockouts

TALKING POINT – Are Italy for real?

Roberto Mancini has rebuilt Italy into a statistical juggernaut. They are now unbeaten in 30 matches and have won their last eleven by scoring 32 goals and conceding precisely zero.

Within that run they have won all three of their Euro 2020 matches. All three of those victories were secured in Rome; now they go on the road, to Wembley initially to face either Austria or the Ukraine, and right now look like a team capable of getting back there for the final on 11 July.

They are certainly the most enigmatic team in the competition; after failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, they arrived in this championship as the most unknown quantity that Italy has ever sent to a finals. Sterner tests will come their way in the knockout rounds, but a prolonged habit of scoring goals and not conceding them is useful thing to have in the tank at the business end of a tournament.

MAN OF THE MATCH – Marco Verratti (Italy)

Even before Italy gained the numerical advantage when Ampadu was sent off, Verratti was pulling their defence and midfield over the pitch. He makes Mancini’s new-look team tick and capped a masterful passing display by setting up the winner for Pessina.

‘I can’t be any more proud of them’ – Page after Italy defeat

PLAYER RATINGS

Italy (4-3-3): Donnarumma 6; Toloi 6, Bonucci 6, Bastoni 7, Emerson 7; Pessina 7, Jorginho 7, Verratti 8; Chiesa 7, Belotti 6, Bernadeschi 7. Subs: Acerbi 7, Cristante 6, Raspadori 6, Castrovilli 6, Sirigu 6.

Wales (5-3-2): Ward 7; Roberts 6, Gunter 6, Rodon 7, Ampadu 5, Williams 6; Morrell 5, Allen 7, Ramsey 7; Bale 6, James 7. Subs: Moore 6, Wilson 6, Levitt 6, Davies 6, Brooks 6.

KEY MOMENTS

27’ CHANCE! Wales win their first corner of the match. James whips it swiftly in to the front post, where Gunter arrives unmarked and heads just over from six yards out. What an opportunity; Wales should be ahead.

39’ GOAL! Italy 1-0 Wales (Pessina): Italy area ahead! From a free kick near the right corner of the Welsh area, Verratti whips a low ball into the penalty area. Pessina gets across the defence, applying a glancing touch to the cross that diverts it low past Ward and into the far corner.

42’ SO CLOSE! Verratti is running this. He clips a lovely pass into the area from out on the left, and Pessina breaks from nowhere to glance the ball just wide of the far post.

53’ OFF THE POST! Bernadeschi takes a low free kick, whipped right around the wall; Ward is beaten, but the ball clips the outside of the post and drifts behind for a goal kick.

54’ OH WHAT A CHANCE FOR WALES! A long ball into the Italian area bounces past Bastoni and Ramsey is in on the right. He dithers, and it costs him; he doesn’t shoot, looks for support that isn’t there and then loses the ball as he tries to adjust his feet.

55’ RED CARD! Ampadu catches Bernadeschi as he misses the ball in a fifty-fifty, and it’s a straight red! It’s VAR checked, but it’s going to stand; he missed the ball and came down hard with his studs on Bernadeschi’s ankle. Was that high enough and reckless enough to justify a red? I’m not so sure, but Wales are down to ten men.

65’ EXCELLENT SAVE! Italy break quickly on Wales, and Chiesa cuts past Williams to get to the byline. He pulls it back to Belotti near the six yard box, and Ward turns the first time shot around the post.

75’ OH WHAT A CHANCE! Wales launch a free kick into the area. Rodon heads it to the back post where Bale, unmarked, skies a volley over the bar from eight yards out! That’s a huge miss; Wales have been outplayed today, but have created three superb chances.

KEY STAT

  • With this victory Italy extended their unbeaten run to 30 matches, equalling their all-time record.

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