Wales vs. England: Ben Davies defends Aaron Ramsey & Gareth Bale

Wales vs. England: Ben Davies defends

Wales vs. England: Ben Davies has defended Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey’s World Cup performances, despite two terrible team displays that have left Wales facing elimination if they do not win against England on Tuesday.

Wales were lucky to win their opener against the US after a late penalty from Bale concealed a below-par first-half performance, while they lost their second encounter 2-0 against Iran despite being outplayed for most of the match. Iran scored two goals in injury time to win the victory and drop Wales to the bottom of their group.

Ramsey, in particular, has been chastised for his performances, but having played with him and Bale for many years, Davies could not take criticism of the two ahead of the Three Lions meeting.

“Gareth and Aaron have consistently shown up for Wales,” Davies said during a press conference.

“They’ve shown their worth, and to be honest, I don’t believe we’d be here without them.” So criticizing them in any manner is probably unreasonable. And I believe we must have trust in them that they would do it again for us.”

Wales’ dismal showings in Qatar have sharply contrasted to what many have come to anticipate from the squad based on previous results, and some have said that this tournament was a step too far for some.

Wales will go to the last 16 if the other game in the group, between the USMNT and Iran, finishes in a draw. If either team wins that game, Wales must beat England by four goals, which would be one of the most remarkable World Cup results in history.

On the other hand, Davies said that this may be where Wales excels: “We’ve played well when we’ve had our backs against the wall in the past, so we truly have nothing to lose.” We must now get out there and present our best selves.

“It’s never simple to recover after a loss. It’s difficult to accept at any level, particularly at the peak [of the World Cup], but that’s football. You must accept the highs as well as the lows.

“We went back, chatted between ourselves, held team meetings, and looked over what didn’t go well.” And it’s really just a matter of refocusing and ensuring that we go into the game against England with all we’ve got and trying to present the best version of ourselves.”

The loss to Iran has left Welsh supporters stunned, with many believing that this tournament hasn’t been a real representation of the squad they’ve grown to love over the years, with Joe Allen saying as much ahead of the game. Davies went on to discuss what, in his opinion, has gone wrong for Wales so far.

“We’re a team that sets high expectations for itself; that’s how we got to where we are today, and why we’re critical of the recent outcomes.” We only know we can play a lot better because of the standard we’ve set for ourselves.

“You have to understand that we’re up against stronger competition in this tournament.” Everyone is at the World Cup for a specific cause. And the reason for this is that they are both extremely excellent teams. We certainly feel that we can play a lot better than we did in both games, but we’ll have to do it in the next one.”

Davies indicated that the camp was difficult after the defeat, but there is a drive to go ahead, maybe using the US performance against England as a model.

“I believe it was a really emotional moment after the game for everyone interested in Welsh football,” he continued. “It’s about realising that what occurred has happened and that lingering on a difficult game isn’t really the path ahead for us.” So we’ve been focused on what we need to do to attain a result.

“Perhaps we should look at what the United States accomplished successfully in order to acquire some form of edge.” However, it will not be easy against an England team that is one of the best in this tournament.

“Our whole concentration is on getting a result and winning the game.” And we can only hope that everything else works out.”

Luke Shaw has hinted that a video leaked from the Welsh camp of players celebrating England’s loss to Iceland at Euro 2016 has fueled their motivation ahead of Tuesday’s game, but Davies has diplomatically added that any fallout from that tournament – and even England’s defeat of Wales in the group stages in France – is not on the radar.

“Honestly, that’s not even on our radar,” he remarked. “We could play anybody.” There is no further motive. We simply know we’re up against a very, very talented team, so we have to give it our all and hope things go our way.”