Wales need to beat Turkey and hope Croatia fail to beat Armenia to qualify for Euro 2024; Sky Sports News’ Geraint Hughes reveals all from the Wales camp; follow Wales vs Turkey on Wednesday night on Sky Sports’ digital platforms via the live blog; kick-off 7.45pm
Image: Wales face a crucial Euro 2024 qualifier against Turkey in Cardiff
Last Saturday night Wales players looked distraught, they were.
The 1-1 draw in Yerevan meant automatic qualification to Euro 2024 was out of their hands. A hard-earned position gone… for the moment.
- Page: No Euro 2024 play-off talk before Turley qualifier
- Euro 2024 Qualifiers state of play: Wales relying on Croatia to progress
Step forward a few days and the raw, negative emotion in the aftermath of the result against Armenia is gone.
Rob Page and Ben Davies could have made me believe I could step into the ring with Tyson Fury and stand more than a fighter’s chance – then I snapped out of it and stopped dreaming. That’s a fanciful daydream. Fury could flick me aside!
Wales though don’t have to dream. They’ve created a mindset going into the game against Turkey that includes facts. What they’ve done is highlight the positive side of those facts.
So here goes. Despite Wales’ draw in Armenia meaning qualification for the Euros is out of their hands, the players have been reminded and as a result of speaking with Page and Davies, I’ve been reminded that Wales can still qualify for the Euros.
What Wales need to do to qualify for Euro 2024
- Wales must beat already-qualified Turkey on Tuesday and hope Croatia fail to do the same when they host Armenia.
- Wales would progress automatically if they win and Croatia draw owing to their superior head to head. Anything less and the play-offs in March beckon.
Break that fact down and act on it in the moment now and that sounds pretty good.
Wales can still qualify automatically for the Euros. Fact.
Wales have earned a play-off spot. Fact
They’ve done that because of their successes. Fact
Now I’ve not become Rafa Benitez all of a sudden, I’m just making the point about why Wales are being so upbeat 24 hours out from playing Turkey. Park and forget the experiences of Saturday in Yerevan and then just simply break down the facts. Classic, brilliant psychology.
How much of sport is played out in the mind? At the elite end probably more than any of us think.
Page alluded earlier that on Sunday night back at their Cardiff base: he got all the players and coaches together for a meeting and chatted through the next 48 hours.
Wales manager Rob Page says he has no regrets over his tactics in the draw against Armenia and insists they still believe they qualify for the Euros
The squad’s psychologist Ian Mitchell was there and spoke, although nothing unusual in that, but it’s in times when a team, an athlete is down that the power of positive thinking can become so powerful and obvious. A strategy is at play here, why dwell on a poor result and its consequences when all is not lost? Focus on that.
It’s probable Wales will not qualify automatically for the Euros on Tuesday night. Croatia will probably beat Armenia meaning it’s irrelevant if Wales beat Turkey.
But – there’s a possibility of qualification. Channel the mind’s thinking on that and Wales will surely play better against Turkey – something they can control – than if they approach the game by looking back at the negatives of last Saturday.
It all creates that scenario of “what if?”
Wales captain Ben Davies says they can’t give up hope of reaching next summer’s Euros, despite automatic qualification being out of their hands
The Cardiff City Stadium is a sell-out for the visit of Turkey, with a standard raucous, partisan atmosphere guaranteed.
What if someone in the crowd looking at their Sky Sports App sees it change to ‘Croatia 0-1 Armenia?’ Will they stay quiet? No the place will go bonkers! The impossible, improbable may just happen.
I’m going to have Tyson Fury down in the 3rd with a magic right uppercut. Why not dream?
Oh yes, and Wales do have a back-up. They’ve guaranteed a play-off spot next March. Fact.