Summer Briefing: Chiellini praises James
Two Manchester United players helped Wales to a second-placed finish in Group A at Euro 2020 on Sunday evening.
WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY?
Daniel James played 74 minutes for Rob Page's side in a heartening 1-0 defeat to Roberto Mancini's ruthless yet entertaining Italian outfit.
Having praised Italy's formidable centre-back pairing of Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini before the game, James received some in return.
Juventus defender Chiellini has been a key part of Italy's recent fine form - they have gone 10 games without conceding a goal for the first time since 1990 - and picked out James for deserved recognition before Sunday's match.
'I love Aaron Ramsey - he's been unlucky with injuries' 🙏— ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 20, 2021
'I like to watch James at Manchester United' 👏
High praise on Wales' star men from Giorgio @Chiellini 🗣#ITVFootball #Euro2020 pic.twitter.com/1cp2Mfawu1
Dan put in another tireless performance, harrying the Italian defenders, offering an outlet on the counter-attack and getting stuck in defensively. His Wales side played much of the second half with 10 men after an unfortunate sending off for Ethan Ampadu.
Manager Rob Page admitted it "felt like a win" because Wales have finished second in the group, above Switzerland and Turkey, the latter being knocked out of Euro 2020 after scoring only once in three games.
Looking ahead to the knock-out rounds, Page said: "Are we going to go into these against top, top teams and command possession? Probably not. Are we going to have to defend resolutely? Absolutely. Do we have players who can hurt them on the counter? Yes."
James will be one of those crucial in playing on the break, as he has been at Old Trafford. The 23-year-old has created eight chances at Euro 2020, more than any other player in the tournament thus far.
Wales now face the prospect of playing one of Russia, Finland or Denmark in Amsterdam on Saturday, although there is still an outside chance they could meet Belgium too. Having finished second in Group A, they will play whichever team finishes runners-up in Group B.
Potentially involved in that game will be Dylan Levitt. The young United midfielder maintained his place in the Wales squad, after a loan spell in Croatia with Istra, and was brought on with four minutes to go in Rome on Sunday. Coming on at a crucial time, he helped to shield the defence. It was a fantastic moment for the 20-year-old and our Academy.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Switzerland beat Turkey 3-1, thanks largely to a double from Xherdan Shaqiri.
WHAT'S HAPPENING TODAY?
Four fixtures will be played in the Euros as Group B and Group C come to their conclusions.
At 17:00 BST, the Netherlands, who have already qualified for the knock-outs, take on North Macedonia while Ukraine play Austria. Whichever team wins out of the latter will finish second.
At 20:00 BST, Finland play Belgium and Russia face Denmark. A win for Denmark would make things interesting as the Danes currently sit on zero points after two defeats but have a small chance of making the round of 16 with a victory. Belgium are already through.
In South America, Edinson Cavani's Uruguay take on Chile at 22:00 BST in the Copa America. Cavani's team lost their opening game against Argentina.