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Wales set sights on World Cup 2022 after coming to terms with painful Euros exit

Wales appeared to lose their heads in the final minutes of their brutal 4-0 loss to Denmark.

But the anger and pain from shattering defeats like that, can also be a powerful motivator.

Chris Mepham admits Wales’ stars knew from the 48th minute onwards they probably weren’t going to reach the quarter-finals once Kasper Dolberg fired in his second.

Further late goals from Joakim Maehle and Martin Braithwaite, either side of a red card for sub Harry Wilson, added to Wales’ misery.

But by the time skipper Gareth Bale called the squad and staff together on the pitch for a post-match huddle, thoughts were already turning to the future.

After successive appearances at the Euros, Wales now want to reach their first World Cup since 1958.

Gareth Bale in action as Wales exited Euro 2020 in the last 16 to Denmark

Encouragingly, Bale appears determined to help lead Wales to Qatar 2022.

Asked about the huddle, Bale replied: “We were just saying in there now we need to take this experience into the World Cup campaign.

“I feel like we have a very good way of playing when we play well.

“We just need to keep that confidence high.”

After reaching the semi-finals at Euro 2016, Wales generated growing hope in their camp and the nation they could do something special again as they finished second in Group A behind Italy.

But Wales had more players playing regular first team club football five years ago when the likes of Bale,31, Aaron Ramsey,30, and Joe Allen,31, were also in their prime.

Chris Mepham in action for Wales at Euro 2020

Against Denmark, once their opponents switched to a back four early in the game, Bale’s influence was minimal.

While midfielder Ramsey was subdued by Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen pushing up to mark him.

The changes helped Denmark dominate once Dolberg had smashed a fine 27th-minute opener in Amsterdam.

Dolberg’s second just after the break was the hammer-blow as Wales appealed in vain for an apparent foul on Kieffer Moore in the build up.

Wales were then desperate for the final whistle as Mæhle lashed in late on before sub Wilson saw red.

Ex-Middlesbrough flop Braithwaite added a fourth to ruthlessly dump Wales out and leave the squad to look ahead to September’s qualifiers instead with Rob Page set to remain in charge after 12 matches at the helm since Ryan Giggs’ arrest.

Centre-back Mepham added: “At 2-0 it was very difficult to get back into the game.

“Ultimately that was the goal which cemented the win for them.

“What we said in the changing room and out on the pitch when Gaz pulled us in, was we are immensely proud of what we have done in this tournament.

“We have a very young team, some would say very inexperienced.

“So to apply ourselves like we have done is something we can all be proud of.

“I think it will definitely put us in good stead in the future.

“We will bounce back from it.

“One thing we can always promise as a Wales squad is we can be resilient.

“The next campaign will come around really quick and there is no better way to put it right than in September.”




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