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Wales boss Robert Page jokes about Kieffer Moore's "hysterical" jumping

Wales boss Robert Page jokes about Kieffer Moore's
© Reuters
Kieffer Moore was told to "jump with no arms" as Wales held on to second spot in Group A despite losing 1-0 in Rome, finishing above Switzerland.

Robert Page celebrated Wales reaching the last 16 of Euro 2020 after sending on Kieffer Moore against Italy and telling the substitute to "jump with no arms".

Wales held on to second spot in Group A despite losing 1-0 in Rome, finishing above Switzerland – who beat Turkey 3-1 in Baku – on goal difference.

But Wales' five-goal advantage over Switzerland at kick-off was in danger of being wiped out when Ethan Ampadu was dismissed after 55 minutes.

Italy Wales Euro 2020 Soccer
Wales boss Robert Page left out three players against Italy who were on yellow cards (Alberto Lingria/AP)

Ampadu was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Federico Bernardeschi, and interim manager Page turned to Moore as an attacking option to keep the ball away from an overworked Wales defence.

The 6ft 5in Cardiff striker had been left on the bench with Page aware that a second booking in the tournament would rule him out of a last-16 tie.

"I went with my heart for the last half-an-hour and got Kieffer on the pitch," Page said after Wales had lost to Matteo Pessina's first-half volley.

"Otherwise we would have been camped on the edge of our box.

SOCCER Wales
PA Graphics

"To do that against a very good Italian team they would have broke us down again and it could have been two or three.

"Kieffer is one of those players that unfortunately could accidentally get a booking. He understood my concern.

"I asked him to jump with no arms and he did. Watching him jump was hysterical."

Moore scored Wales' first goal of the tournament in the 1-1 draw against Switzerland and is integral to their style of play with his size, strength and hold-up ability.

But Moore joined Ben Davies and Chris Mepham – who are also carrying yellow cards – on the bench as Page brought in Ampadu, Chris Gunter and Neco Williams at the Stadio Olimpico.

"I had some tough decisions before the game," said Page, whose side will now head to Amsterdam to play either Denmark, Finland or Russia in the round of 16.

"My heart was telling me to continue the momentum against Turkey and keep going.

"But there was a risk element with the three lads on bookings. There was a strong probability – a 95 per cent chance – that we would have gone through anyway, so I put them on the bench.

"They understood my concern and agreed with the decision."

Wales became the smallest nation in terms of population to reach the semi-finals of the European Championship in France five years ago.

Asked how Wales had managed to make the last 16 again with such a small population, Page replied: "Don't underestimate the character of a Welshman.

"It's phenomenal what that changing room has got in there. I'm absolutely bursting with pride.

"I can't speak highly enough of them, they got the job done to finish second."

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Italy's Matteo Pessina celebrates scoring their first goal against Wales at Euro 2020 on June 20, 2021
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Thursday's key events


ATHLETICS
· The women's heptathlon continues with the long jump, javelin and 800m, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson now out of contention following an injury (1.10am-1.40pm)
· Andrew Pozzi pursues his dream of an Olympic medal in the men's 110m hurdles final (3.55am)
· Tom Bosworth and Callum Wilkinson are among the British hopes in the men's 20km race walk (8.30am)
· Holly Bradshaw aims to improve on fifth in Rio to challenge Greece's Katerina Stefanidi and Anzhelika Sidorova of Russia for an unlikely medal in the women's pole vault (11am)
· London 2012 champion Kirani James goes up against current world champion Steven Gardiner in the men's 400m final (1pm)

MARATHON SWIMMING
· One of the toughest Olympic events takes place in Tokyo Bay as GB's Hector Pardoe takes on the men's 20km marathon swim (10.30pm Wed)

BOXING
· Galal Yafai takes on takes on Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov for a spot in the gold medal bout of the fly (48kg-52kg) class (6.48am)

DIVING
· Lois Toulson and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix (daughter of First Dates' Fred Sirieix) line up for the women's 10m platform (semi-final 2am; final 7am)

HOCKEY
· Australia face Belgium in the men's final (11am)

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