Tottenham star Ben Davies always believed Wales could reach Euro 2024 – and two wins will do it | The Sun11/15/2023
BEN DAVIES never believed Wales' Euro 2024 dream was over.
Against all the odds, the Dragons lie two wins away from automatic qualification for Germany next summer, starting in Armenia on Saturday.
Wales suffered a shock 4-2 home Group D defeat to the same opposition in June as well as away to Turkey.
And chief executive Noel Mooney planned to review boss Robert Page's position as manager if they didn't finish in the top two.
But last month's superb 2-1 victory over Croatia galvanised the Welsh and put them into second place above the World Cup semi-finalists on a better head-to-head.
Now success for Page's men in Yerevan followed by another win against already-qualified Turkey in Cardiff next Tuesday would book a fourth major tournament finals spot in five attempts.
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Tottenham defender Davies, stand-in skipper for the injured Aaron Ramsey, said: "We never stopped believing in this group. It was disappointing to lose at home and a real wake-up call.
"If you switch off and aren't at your best, you get punished. We won't be making that mistake again.
"We've had our backs against the wall and we've given ourselves a chance. It's quite clear the second game doesn't matter if the first one doesn't go our way.
"It's full focus on Armenia. If we don't get the result then the Turkey one is irrelevant.
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"We can get a result against anyone – we've shown that. It's another huge chance we've got.
"Growing up it was a dream of Welsh football to be going to these major tournaments. That dream still exists. Once you qualify, it gives people the chance to dream.
"We've come into every camp with the focus of getting to these major tournaments with the belief we can do it.
"We don't want to sit on the success and say: 'OK, we've been there and had a nice time'.
"We've had a great run so far, but once you get a taste of it you want to do it again. That's exactly where we are as a group this time."
Davies, 30, delivered a rousing 'huddle' speech following the Croatia triumph inspired by two-goal hero Harry Wilson.
Evoking the words of Dafydd Iwan’s Yma O Hyd – the 1980s folk protest song which has been adopted by Wales' Red Wall as an anthem – Davies declared his team-mates must never give up.
Davies, who is set to win his 83rd cap, added: "It was just a case of showing the reason why we're here.
"People doubted us again but we're still standing.
"We're standing up against the challenges and here we are with two games to go still in the fight."
Wales reached Euro 2020 under previous boss Ryan Giggs by winning their final two matches, away to Azerbaijan and then at home to Hungary, in November 2019.
In the post-Gareth Bale era, Davies – one of four survivors along with Ramsey and keepers Danny Ward and Wayne Hennessey from the Euro 2016 squad which reached the semi-finals – said: "There are similarities from the last time we qualified.
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"It’s a tight group and they’re always going to come down to the last games.
"Most of us have been in this situation before and it’s an opportunity for us to do it again. We're ready for it."
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