Morrell gets an hour as Wales reach Euro 2020 second round despite Italy defeat

Midfielder features in group stage reverse

Monday, 21st June 2021, 9:23 am
Updated Monday, 21st June 2021, 9:27 am
Joe Morrell gets close to Italy's Marco Verratti during yesterday's Euro 2020 clash
Joe Morrell gets close to Italy's Marco Verratti during yesterday's Euro 2020 clash

Luton midfielder Joe Morrell played for an hour as Wales went through to the second round of Euro 2020 despite a 1-0 defeat to Italy in Rome yesterday.

Against an Italian side who had already qualified for the next stage, the Welsh were under pressure early on, unable to get out of their half for long periods.

They fell behind on the half hour too, Marco Veratti's free-kick finding Matteo Pessina to put the hosts in front.

Wales did have opportunities of their own though with Chris Gunter heading over and Gareth Bale volleying off target, but after the break, they were reduced to 10 men on 55 minutes when Ethan Ampadu was sent off for a lunging challenge on Federico Bernardeschi.

Morrell was soon replaced by Kieffer Moore, as Wales' automatic qualification was under threat with Switzerland beating Turkey 3-1 in Group A's other fixture.

However, Robert Page's side clung on in the face of some intense pressure, and can now prepare for a second-round match against Group B's runners-up in Amsterdam next Saturday.

The manager said: "We've got second spot, it's that feeling of winning.

"Don't underestimate the character of a Welshman.

"It's phenomenal what the changing room has got in there. I'm bursting with pride, now the real stuff starts."

Defender Tom Lockyer remained on the bench for the clash, while Luton goalkeeper Simon Sluga will be part of the Croatia squad who take on Scotland tomorrow night.