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Wales need ‘performance of our lives’ to save World Cup hopes, admits Joe Allen | Wales


Joe Allen has said Wales require the “performance of our lives” to beat England for the first time since 1984 and keep alive their hopes of reaching the last 16 of the World Cup. The midfielder admitted the Wales squad are hurting after poor displays against the USA and Iran left them with one point from two games.

Wales must beat England and hope Iran and the USA draw, or beat England by a four-goal margin, to qualify for the knockout stages. “Everyone is hurting because of the situation we find ourselves in,” Allen said. “Our focus now moves on to getting on the training pitch, putting in the work and preparing for the performance of our lives against England.”

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Ben Davies insisted Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey are capable of helping Wales to secure a famous win at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, despite being underwhelming so far at the tournament. “Gareth and Aaron have turned up for Wales over and over again,” the Tottenham defender said. “I think we have to put our faith in them and that they can do it for us one more time.”

Davies acknowledged Wales’s performances in Qatar had fallen short of their standards but believes the must‑win nature of the game – and nobody giving them much of a chance – could suit them. “We’ve performed well when we’ve had our backs against the wall in the past. We have nothing to lose now.”

Allen added that Bale and Ramsey were proven “big-game players” who could answer their critics on Tuesday. The 32-year-old made his first appearance at a World Cup finals as a substitute against Iran and is in line to start against England. “We’re fully incentivised into throwing everything into getting the win,” Allen said. “Then, who knows?”

Wales held a minute’s silence before training yesterday to mark the 11th anniversary of the death of their former player and manager Gary Speed. “Gary was a great man – he’s often in the players’ thoughts,” Allen said. “He was an inspiration … he has played a big part in the journey this team has been through and we remember him very fondly.”

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