November 22, (THEWILL) – The Welsh national football team secured a spot in the Euro 2024 play-offs on Tuesday night, despite only managing a 1-1 draw with Turkey in a dramatic 2023 European Championship qualifier in Cardiff.
A 7th-minute goal from Neco Williams had given the home side an early lead and hope they could pip Croatia to automatic qualification. However, a controversial second-half penalty by Yusuf Yazici earned Turkey a share of the spoils, ending Wales’ chances of topping Group D.
It means Robert Page’s side will enter the March play-offs, with a home semi-final tie against either Finland, Iceland or Ukraine awaiting them. Turkey did Wales an unlikely favour by beating Croatia last week but were unable to repeat the trick and open the door for the Welsh this time around.
There was considerable controversy around Yazici’s leveller, with Wales having had three stronger shouts for a penalty turned down in the first half. Page reacted to his side’s disappointment in Armenia by making three changes, including giving Luton’s Tom Lockyer his first competitive appearance since September 2021.
In the end, it mattered little, as Croatia comfortably beat Armenia 1-0 to secure second place in Group D behind winners Turkey. Attention now turns to March’s play-off draw, with Wales fancying their chances of booking a place at Euro 2024 via the back door.