Captain Gareth Bale has described Wales’ victory over the Czech Republic as very important to their hopes of qualifying for a first World Cup since 1958.
Bale scored the decisive goal for Daniel James on Tuesday.
The result gave Wales their first points of the season after they lost their opening game in Belgium.
We didn’t have the best start against Belgium, so it was important to win tonight, said loaned Tottenham striker Bale.
That was a huge result. We showed a lot of courage and will to play against a very good, physical team.
It was very chaotic, especially in the second half, but we were ready for it and we held on until the end and, most importantly, we scored the winning goal.
The win moved Wales into third place in Group E, one point behind second-placed Czech Republic and four points behind leaders Belgium, despite having played one match less than both countries.
Although it was only Wales’ second game, it was a memorable one because it was a game against one of the most likely opponents in the play-offs.
Only the group winners automatically qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, while the runners-up qualify for the play-offs.
Belgium, the world number one, are the group winners, while Wales are already certain of a place in the play-offs after winning the Nations League group last November.
We need to win games to qualify and we want to win every game, Bale told Sky Sports.
Football doesn’t always go the way you expect it to.
Paigey [interim manager Robert Paige] kept us focused despite the off-field incidents.
Winning was what we needed.
Wales have had to contend with numerous off-field distractions in recent months.
Daniel James: The Wales player praises his boss Robert Page.
They have no manager, Ryan Giggs, whose lease expires until January 1. May was extended after the assault charge was dismissed.
During his absence, assistant coach Paige took over and oversaw six games in November and this month.
Hal Robson-Kanu, Rabbi Matondo and Tyler Roberts were expelled from the team on Monday after breaching protocols, the nature of which was not specified by the Football Association of Wales (FAW).
Wales were not deterred by the recent distractions and fought back against the Czech Republic in an eventful match in which both teams had to send a man off the pitch.
It’s an internal matter and we’ve dealt with it, Paige said of the departures of Robson-Kanu, Matondo and Roberts.
There are so many positives to today’s performance that I don’t want to talk about.
All is done, all is done, all is forgotten. We’re moving forward.
Paige was much happier when talking about Tuesday’s result and how it has boosted Wales’ hopes of qualifying for the World Cup.
At training camp, we wanted to be eager and get four points [from two games], but at the start we would have gotten three points for sure, he said.
Especially after last week’s result and the Czech Republic’s draw against Belgium.
We knew that a win would put us in a good position in the group, and we definitely did.