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Past successes count for little as Wales sack manager Page

Robert Page has been sacked as manager of Wales after a disappointing sequence of results, the Football Association of Wales (FAW) announced on Friday.

“The Football Association of Wales has taken the decision to end Rob Page’s contract as Men’s National Team Head Coach,” read a FAW statement.

Page guided Wales to their first World Cup in 64 years in 2022 and to the second round of Euro 2020 but failed to reach this year’s Euros, losing in a penalty shoot-out to Poland in a play-off.

Page — whose contract ran till 2026 — did receive a vote of confidence following that heartbreaking outcome, FAW president Steve Williams declaring he would be in charge of the 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign.  

However, he subsequently oversaw one of the most embarrassing results in the country’s history, a 0-0 draw with Gibraltar in a friendly and then suffered a 4-0 hammering at the hands of Slovakia.

Page admitted following the Slovakian defeat that he was in dangerous territory.

“They (Wales’ fans) want me out. I completely understand. I’ve got to stay true to myself and focused on the job in hand. Everything else is out of my control,” he said.

The FAW did not reach their decision easily, taking over a week to discuss the 49-year-old’s future.

The former Welsh international defender leaves, though, with glowing tributes being paid to him by his former bosses.

“On behalf of myself and the entire FAW, I extend our heartfelt gratitude to Rob for his commitment and dedication to his roles for the national teams,” said FAW chief executive Noel Mooney.

“Under Rob Page’s leadership, our Cymru (Wales) men’s team has achieved significant milestones and victories which have created many incredible memories for our nation, most notably our first World Cup in 64 years.”

Page, whose highlight as a player in club football was winning promotion to the Premier League with Watford, took over the Wales job temporarily from Ryan Giggs in November 2020, before being appointed on a permanent basis.

He had immediate success as Wales were promoted to the top tier of the Nations League and then reached the knockout stages of Euro 2020, although Denmark outclassed them in a 4-0 victory in the Last 16.

A play-off win over Ukraine sealed their place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, but with both their world class stars Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey not at their best they were beaten by England and Iran to exit in the group stage.

His overall record with Wales reads as 45 matches played, winning 15, drawing 15 and — including the Poland shootout — losing 15.

The FAW have a bit of breathing space to find his replacement.

Wales’ next game is the opening match of their Nations League campaign against Turkey on September 6, with a trip to Montenegro three days later.

World Cup qualifying for European nations begins in spring 2025.

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