As Wales advances to the last 16, Robert Page chuckles at Kieffer Moore’s jumping style.
After sending on Kieffer Moore against Italy and encouraging him to “leap with no arms,” Robert Page congratulated Wales on reaching the final 16 of Euro 2020.
Despite losing 1-0 in Rome, Wales finished second in Group A, one goal ahead of Switzerland, who defeated Turkey 3-1 in Baku.
However, Wales’ five-goal lead over Switzerland at the start of the match was jeopardized when Ethan Ampadu was sent off after 55 minutes.
After Ampadu was sent off for a late challenge on Federico Bernardeschi, Page went to Moore as an attacking option to keep the ball away from a tired Wales defense.
With Page conscious that a second booking in the tournament would keep him out of a last-16 tie, the 6ft 5in Cardiff attacker was left on the bench.
Page said after Wales lost to Matteo Pessina’s first-half volley, “I went with my heart for the last half-hour and put Kieffer on the pitch.”
“We would have been camped on the edge of our box if it hadn’t been for the rain.
“They would have broken us down again against a really talented Italian squad, and it could have been two or three.
“Kieffer is one of those guys who, unfortunately, may get booked by mistake. He was sympathetic to my concerns.
“I told him he had to jump without his arms, and he did. It was hilarious to watch him jump.”
Moore scored Wales’ opening goal of the tournament in a 1-1 draw with Switzerland, and his stature, strength, and hold-up skills are crucial to their style of play.
Moore, however, sat on the bench alongside Ben Davies and Chris Mepham, both of whom have yellow cards, as Page brought on Ampadu, Chris Gunter, and Neco Williams at the Stadio Olimpico.
“I had to make some painful decisions before the game,” said Page, whose team will face Denmark, Finland, or Russia in the round of 16 in Amsterdam.
“My heart was telling me to keep going and maintain the momentum against Turkey.
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