Luton midfielder Morrell gets 80 minutes as 10-man Wales are beaten by France

Early red card hampers Welsh chances of an upset win

By Mike Simmonds
Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 11:36 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 11:38 pm
Joe Morrell started for Wales as they lost to France this evening

Luton midfielder Joe Morrell played 83 minutes as 10-man Wales were beaten 3-0 by France in their first friendly in preparation for Euro 2020 this evening.

The visitors were all square against the world champions with 25 minutes gone in Nice, only to see defender Neco Williams sent off for handballing Karim Benzema's goalbound effort, referee Luis Godinho using VAR to award the spot-kick and dismiss the Liverpool youngster.

Benzema saw his resulting penalty saved by Danny Ward, who also did well to save Adrien Rabiot's deflected shot moments later, Paris Saint Germain striker Kylian Mbappe netting the rebound.

Antoine Griezmann curled in a excellent second after the interval, with Ousmane Dembele making it 3-0, as Morrell got some welcome game time after a frustrating season with the Hatters, before being replaced by Rubin Colwill.

Speaking to Sky Sports, manager Rob Page said: "The penalty and the red card was very harsh.

"We've looked back at it a few times, his hands came up in a natural position and it's impossible for him to do anything else and that changes the course of the game.

"I thought we started the game ok, we created a couple of chances and still created chances after we went down to 10-men.

"It's disappointing, but a lot of positives to be taken out of it.

"There were lessons learnt, there were good performances from individuals and we were a constant threat, but when you're playing against a top, top team like France even with 11 players, it's a difficult ask.”

Wales are back in friendly action against Albania on Saturday, with Town defender Tom Lockyer looking to get his first minutes since suffering an ankle injury back in February.