Heartbreak for Wales as World Cup journey comes to an end following 3-0 loss to England

  • Wales fans in Qatar react to the loss against England.

Wales have been knocked out of the 2022 World Cup following a 3-0 loss to England in their final group game.

It comes after Rob Page's side endured a string of disappointing performances in Qatar with the boss saying they "gave everything" in their final match, which was dubbed the Battle of Britain.

“It’s very tough at this moment in time", he said"

“I thought first half we were outstanding. The effort they put in without the ball was exceptional.

“We addressed at half-time that we could be a little bit better with the ball but I won’t have a bad word said about that group of players. They’ve given everything today."

Page said despite the team's achievements in reaching the World cup, he and the players are disappointed with their performance in some of their games. "To get here was a massive achievement." He said.

"We're disappointed because we know a couple of the games we haven't really shown our true colours and that's probably the most frustrating thing for me and for the players, they know that themselves.

He added: "It's important we learn from it. We've had a taste of it now, a world cup and a Euro's and we want to continue to qualify."

England dominated possession throughout the match and claimed a straightforward three points with goals from Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden.

Captain Gareth Bale said the team will leave the tournament "with their heads held high" after becoming the first Welsh team to qualify for the World Cup since 1958.

The history-making journey to Doha saw the squad supported by The Red Wall/Y Wal Goch where thousands of Welsh fans made the 4,000 mile trip to watch the side compete.That support was there until the bitter end where they sang the national anthem to the players following their elimination from the tournament.

ITV Cymru Wales’ Sports Reporter Matt Southcombe has been reflecting on the tournament, what it meant to fans and how our nation performed.

Do you cry because it’s over or smile because it happened? That is the internal conflict that most Wales fans will be wrestling with this evening.

After all, Robert Page’s side brought an end to 64 years of painful near misses and took Wales to the world stage.

They completed the journey that Gary Speed set them on, lifting Welsh football from the doldrums.

Wales felt a disappointing loss to Iran on Friday (25 November) Credit: PA

But there is also an inescapable sense that things simply were not supposed to be like this. A draw with the USA and meek defeats to Iran and England sent Gareth Bale and co packing at the earliest opportunity.

In many ways it was a campaign as frustrating as the 64 years that preceded it.

A tactical error from Page - for which he admirably owned up - saw Wales comprehensively outplayed in the first 45 minutes against America.

They were lucky to be 1-0 down at the break but the introduction of Kieffer Moore at half time saw Wales wrestle control of the match. But they were only able to draw level as time ran out before they could nick a winner.

How different might things have been if Wales had got it right from the start?

The defeat to Iran will probably live with the players for a long time to come.

They were the lowest ranked team in the group and it was supposed to be an opportunity for Wales to really assert themselves.

But they were second to every ball and Iran thoroughly deserved their 2-0 win. It was a performance that raised questions over the conditioning of the side, who seemingly struggled in the heat that comes with an early kick-off.

It’s worth noting the timing of this World Cup.

Being in November, teams were robbed of the opportunity to have long training camps in the build-up to the tournament.

Given so few of Page’s side were regularly playing 90 minutes at domestic level in the build-up to the global gathering, there’s a good chance that was having an impact here.

Nonetheless, such a defeat to Iran was not part of the script.

In a World Cup that had been littered with upsets, including England’s draw with the USA, Wales’ offering in Qatar left fans pondering what might have been if they’d got their tactics right against the USA and if they’d simply turned up against Iran.

England beat Wales 3-0 in the final group B fixture Credit: PA

They were not out of it heading into the final clash with England but needed a minor miracle to reach the knockout stages.

It didn’t come.

Wales managed to contain Gareth Southgate’s side for 45 minutes but only mustered a potshot from Joe Allen.

When Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden put England 2-0 up early in the second half, Wales’ flame faded and their fate was sealed.

In all, it was a campaign that left a sour taste in the mouth.

Yes, Wales went to the biggest stage of all and in many ways, that should be enough. But, when they got there, they fluffed their lines and that will give Page and his players sleepless nights.

A draw, a solitary goal and two convincing defeats.

So do you cry because it ended like that or smile because it happened? In this case, it might just be both.

Here’s the view of our reporter Cari Davies, who has followed Wales on their journey in Qatar…

There were concerns before the Red Wall arrived in Qatar that it would be hard for them to have a good time, well for the most part those worries seem to have been misplaced.

Every fan we’ve spoken to has had a blast out here, whether that has been with the assistance of alcohol or not.

Fans tell me there have been no problems stocking up, you just have to be prepared to pay!

The last time Wales played at a World Cup was in 1958 Credit: PA

The Welsh have been welcomed by the locals and celebrated by fans from other nations - our singing and our bucket hats fairing better than our performances on the pitch. 

Hearing Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau filling the Ahmed Bin Ali stadium for Wales’ opening match is a moment I will never forget.

I was bursting with pride and tears threatened to roll down my cheeks as I thought of my football mad Taid, William Davies, who would have loved to have lived long enough to see Wales at another World Cup.

But he wasn’t the only person missing of course, far from it.

There are so many fans who opted out of coming here, the price a barrier for many, the country's human rights record something others could not overlook. 

And members of the Rainbow Wall feared for their safety if they came here.

Homosexuality is illegal and despite assurances from the Qatari organisers and FIFA, rainbow imagery and clothing was barred from the stadium at Wales’ first match. 

It was rectified for subsequent games but that along with the One Love armband fiasco left Noel Mooney stating this hasn’t been the inclusive tournament that was promised. 

So there’s a split, those who came say they’re glad they did but the huge numbers missing out on experiencing this historic moment in Welsh football cannot be forgotten.

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