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Jun 20, 2021 at 5pm UK at Stadio Olimpico
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Joe Allen lavishes praise on Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey

Joe Allen lavishes praise on Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey
© Reuters
The Dragons play Italy in their final Group A game in Rome on Sunday.

Joe Allen believes Wales pair Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey have proved the critics wrong in "special fashion" at Euro 2020.

Bale and Ramsey shone as Wales beat Turkey 2-0 on Wednesday to move within touching distance of the round of 16.

Ramsey opened the scoring in Baku and Bale atoned for his second-half penalty miss with two superb assists as Wales made it four points from two games.

Wales v Switzerland – UEFA Euro 2020 – Group A – Baku Olympic Stadium
Wales midfielder Joe Allen says Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey have silenced the critics with their performances at Euro 2020 (PA)

"I think some people probably had the narrative drawn up long before that game," Allen told Sky Sports about Wales' star men.

"When you're world-class players like Gareth and Aaron the focus is always going to be on you.

"I think the pair of them were incredible the other night and certainly answered the critics in special fashion."

Bale had a mixed season on loan at Tottenham from Real Madrid as Jose Mourinho often kept him on the bench before his departure in April.

The Wales captain made just 10 Premier League starts but scored 16 goals in all competitions.

Ramsey had a stop-start season with form and fitness issues at Juventus, but the midfielder returns to Italy on Sunday for Wales' final Group A fixture looking sharp.

Italy have impressed with successive 3-0 wins over Turkey and Switzerland, but Stoke midfielder Allen believes Wales will benefit from being underdogs at the Stadio Olimpico.

"It suits us down to the ground," Allen said. "We know we can rely on being solid defensively.

PA Graphics

"We know that everyone's going to put a shift in and give absolutely everything to protect our own goal.

"And with the likes of Gareth and Aaron linking up, Daniel James and Kieffer Moore, we've got all sorts of threats.

"We've got threats off the bench as well that bring different attributes.

"We've got the ability to hurt teams."

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Thursday's key events

· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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