Doha: Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey were big-game players who could step up in Wales’s final group clash against England at the World Cup after failing to make an impact in their loss to Iran, midfielder Joe Allen said on Sunday.
Bale, Wales’s most capped player, had only one shot on goal against Iran while both he and Ramsey were dispossessed several times as the Asian team ran out 2-0 winners to consign Rob Page’s side to the bottom of Group B.
Bale is the only player to score against England in six meetings between the two sides in the 21st century. Allen said he and Ramsey, who both bore the brunt of the criticism after the loss to Iran, would bounce back.
“They’re two incredible, incredible players and have been for our country. I don’t think there’s anyone in the squad who has reached the heights that they’re capable of,” Allen told reporters.
“It’s a huge game coming up. They’re big-game players, always have been. Hopefully if any criticism has gone their way, then they’ll be able to answer a few of those critics with a top performance.” Allen said he was ready to start after coming on as a late substitute against Iran but Wales’s hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the World Cup for the first time in 64 years hang by a thread.
Even if Wales do beat England for the first time since 1984, they will have to rely on the result between the United States and Iran in the other fixture, but Allen said qualification was not impossible.
'Still a chance'
“It’s a tough task, it’s always uncomfortable when it’s obviously not in your hands and you’re relying on certain things to unfold,” Allen said.
“But whilst there’s still a chance, it’s really simple for us. We’re fully motivated, we’ll sacrifice absolutely everything into getting a win.
“Who knows, hopefully while there’s still a chance we can get ourselves out of this group.” Sunday marked 11 years to the day that Wales great Gary Speed died and Allen paid tribute to the national team’s former manager.
“Gary was a great man. He is often in the players’ thoughts, he was an inspiration, first and foremost as a player and then as a manager.
“He played a big part in the start of the journey that this team has been on and we remember him very fondly.”