World Cup 2022: Neco Williams dedicates USA game to grandad hours after news of his death

Williams stepped out onto the pitch to make his World Cup debut just 24 hours after receiving the news of his grandad's passing. Credit: FAW

Wales full-back Neco Williams has dedicated his first World Cup game to his grandad, after playing just hours after the news of his death.

The player could be seen in tears after the final whistle blew on the match with USA.

He then posted on Instagram to say that the day before, he had received "the toughest news [he'd] ever had to face".

His mother told him the devastating news that his grandad had passed away, just 24 hours before Wales was due to compete in the World Cup for the first time in 64 years.

The post went on to say: "He’s been everywhere around the world to watch me play football from when I first started playing at Liverpool at 6 years old.

"He’d never tell me if I had a good game because he always said I have to get better and better each day and that’s why I am where I am now!

"So I dedicate this game all to him because I know he’s up there watching down on me very proudly.

"For everyone please cherish you have with loved ones because you never know when it can get taken away from you."

Rob Page was seen consoling Williams after the game Credit: PA

An emotional Williams could be seen saying "that was for you grandad", as he left the pitch after Wales' World Cup opening game.

It was a triumphant penalty from captain Gareth Bale that secured Wales a point, drawing against USA. Credit: FAW

After a rocky start for Rob Page's side, the second half showed better performance from Wales.

The team left it until the 82nd minute to score an equalising goal against their first opponents of the tournament. USA were up 1 - 0 until the penalty point from Gareth Bale.

It sparked emotional scenes in the stands and led Wales to secure a point on their first appearance at the World Cup since 1958.

Father and son Pelham and Ryan Morgan, aged 60 and 28, from Cardiff, described the atmosphere inside the stadium as "fantastic".

"What an experience - seeing Wales score at the World Cup," Mr Morgan senior said.

"The first half was a bit dodgy but I think it was the nerves, we were all nervous.

"I can't do this anymore I'm an old man, the stress is too much."

Gareth Howells, 47, from Swansea, said: "First half we were rubbish but the second half we turned it around.

"We're going to have to shape up going into the Iran game, let's have more of the second half."

Wales will now be looking ahead to Friday's game with Iran next. Followed by the final group game and highly anticipated clash against England on Monday 29 November.