World Cup Qualifying - European
Czech RepCzech Republic2WalesWales2

World Cup 2022 qualifying: Czech Republic 2-2 Wales

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Sport Wales
Czech Republic's midfielder Adam Hlozek and Wales' midfielder Joe Allen vie for the ball
Wales can still overhaul Czech Republic in their group

Wales' enterprising display was not enough for victory against the Czech Republic as the two sides produced a thrilling 2-2 World Cup qualifying draw in Prague.

Captain Aaron Ramsey's composed finish in an otherwise frenetic first half gave Wales a lead which lasted less than two minutes as Jakub Pesek scored on the rebound.

The Czech Republic were gifted a bizarre second goal early in the second half as Wales goalkeeper Danny Ward failed to control a Ramsey backpass and allowed it to roll into the net.

Wales responded in style as Daniel James equalised with an assured finish which sparked a period of intense Welsh pressure.

Robert Page's side created many chances, but their inability to find a winner their dominance deserved means they remain third in Group E, trailing the Czech Republic on goal difference, albeit with a game in hand.

With Belgium's eight-point lead at the top making automatic qualification effectively impossible, Wales' battle with the Czech Republic for second spot - and passage to the play-offs - looks set to go down to the wire.

Wales are already all but guaranteed a play-off place thanks to their success in the Nations League, but finishing second in this World Cup qualifying group could secure a more favourable draw in that knockout stage.

That was why Page had described this as "a must-win game to guarantee finishing second" beforehand and, while this result may not further their cause, Wales face Estonia in Tallinn on Monday knowing they still have three matches left to overhaul the Czech Republic.

Victory in Prague was of equal, if not greater, importance to the home side, who had played a game more than Wales and approached this fixture with an attacking intent which bordered on reckless.

It made the Czechs dangerous - with Adam Hlozek forcing Ward into an early save - but it also made them vulnerable.

Whenever the Czech Republic pushed forward, they left huge amounts of space behind which Wales exploited.

James' pace made him the obvious target for Welsh counters and he was found brilliantly by a Ramsey pass in the 17th minute but, with just one Czech defender tracking back between the Leeds winger and Kieffer Moore, James dithered before overhitting his pass to Moore, whose shot was smothered by goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik.

It was a glorious opportunity and a warning which the Czech Republic did not heed.

From a Czech corner, Ethan Ampadu drove out of the Welsh defence and passed to Neco Williams wide on the right. The Liverpool full-back's cross grazed James' head and fell to Ramsey, in space at the far post, who calmly waited for Vaclik to commit and lifted a delicate finish over the keeper.

Ramsey's composure was at odds with the chaos of the first half and, true to the game's frenzied pace, the Czech Republic were level under two minutes later.

Wales' defending was rash as all three centre-backs rushed towards Filip Novak, whose shot was saved by Ward, but the ball went into the path of Pesek to equalise.

Wales recover from Ward's mishap

Wales might have felt aggrieved not to be leading at the break but, four minutes into the second half, they found themselves behind in unusual circumstances.

Ramsey regained possession deep in his own half and passed back to Ward and, while it was a firmly-hit pass, it was straight at the goalkeeper, who inexplicably failed to control the ball and instead allowed it to only brush his boot on its way into the net.

It was a deeply unfortunate moment for Ward, who has performed superbly for Wales, but it did not affect him or his team-mates as the game wore on.

Wales were soon back on top and cutting the Czech defence open at will, with substitute Harry Wilson particularly impressive.

Wilson threaded an excellent through ball to James, who took a touch and fired firmly into the bottom corner to bring Wales level, and then played in Ramsey, who had a shot well saved by Vaclik.

Moore was the next to threaten, heading wide from a Connor Roberts cross, before Roberts' backheel from Moore's pass went close.

Chances were piling up and the Czech Republic looked increasingly stressed in defence. Although Wales could not turn their dominance into victory, this performance - arguably their best of this campaign - will give Page and his players reason to believe they might yet be the first Wales side since 1958 to qualify for a World Cup.

Line-ups

Czech Rep

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Vaclik
  • 13Mateju
  • 3Celustka
  • 6Kalas
  • 17NovákSubstituted forWiesnerat 84'minutes
  • 21KrálSubstituted forKuchtaat 83'minutes
  • 22Soucek
  • 8PesekSubstituted forVydraat 76'minutes
  • 7BarakBooked at 26minsSubstituted forSadílekat 77'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 19HlozekSubstituted forZmrhalat 90'minutes
  • 10Schick

Substitutes

  • 2Zima
  • 4Brabec
  • 5Wiesner
  • 11Kuchta
  • 12Kopic
  • 14Zmrhal
  • 15Sadílek
  • 16Mandous
  • 18Havel
  • 20Vydra
  • 23Stanek

Wales

Formation 5-3-2

  • 12Ward
  • 2GunterSubstituted forRobertsat 60'minutes
  • 5MephamSubstituted forRobertsat 86'minutes
  • 6Rodon
  • 15AmpaduBooked at 26mins
  • 3N WilliamsSubstituted forThomasat 76'minutes
  • 7Allen
  • 16MorrellSubstituted forWilsonat 60'minutes
  • 10RamseyBooked at 1mins
  • 13MooreBooked at 90mins
  • 20James

Substitutes

  • 1Hennessey
  • 4Lawrence
  • 8Wilson
  • 9Roberts
  • 11Williams
  • 14Roberts
  • 17Thomas
  • 18M Harris
  • 19Vaulks
  • 21Davies
  • 22Johnson
  • 23Cabango
Referee:
Deniz Aytekin
Attendance:
16,856

Match Stats

Home TeamCzech RepAway TeamWales
Possession
Home51%
Away49%
Shots
Home12
Away16
Shots on Target
Home3
Away5
Corners
Home4
Away5
Fouls
Home11
Away14

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Czech Republic 2, Wales 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Czech Republic 2, Wales 2.

  3. Post update

    Offside, Wales. Tyler Roberts tries a through ball, but Connor Roberts is caught offside.

  4. Post update

    Daniel James (Wales) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Ondrej Celustka (Czech Republic).

  6. Booking

    Kieffer Moore (Wales) is shown the yellow card.

  7. Post update

    Ales Mateju (Czech Republic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Kieffer Moore (Wales).

  9. Booking

    Michal Sadílek (Czech Republic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Michal Sadílek (Czech Republic).

  11. Post update

    Kieffer Moore (Wales) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Czech Republic. Jaromir Zmrhal replaces Adam Hlozek.

  13. Post update

    Jan Kuchta (Czech Republic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Ethan Ampadu (Wales).

  15. Post update

    Foul by Adam Hlozek (Czech Republic).

  16. Post update

    Ethan Ampadu (Wales) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  17. Post update

    Jan Kuchta (Czech Republic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Harry Wilson (Wales).

  19. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Sorba Thomas (Wales) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Harry Wilson.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Wales. Tyler Roberts replaces Chris Mepham.

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Scores, Results & Fixtures

Friday 8th October 2021

  • GermanyGermany2RomaniaRomania1
  • Czech RepCzech Republic2WalesWales2
  • IcelandIceland1ArmeniaArmenia1
  • LiechtensteinLiechtenstein0North MacedoniaNorth Macedonia4
  • EstoniaEstonia2BelarusBelarus0
  • GibraltarGibraltar0MontenegroMontenegro3
  • LatviaLatvia0NetherlandsNetherlands1
  • TurkeyTurkey1NorwayNorway1
  • CyprusCyprus0CroatiaCroatia3
  • MaltaMalta0SloveniaSlovenia4
  • RussiaRussia1SlovakiaSlovakia0

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Portugal5410114713
2Serbia5320127511
3Luxembourg420258-36
4R. of Ireland502358-32
5Azerbaijan501439-61

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Spain6411135813
2Sweden43017349
3Greece41305416
4Kosovo511339-64
5Georgia501429-71

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Italy64201211114
2Switzerland42204138
3Northern Ireland41214315
4Bulgaria512236-35
5Lithuania5005113-120

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1France633083512
2Ukraine50506605
3Finland412145-15
4Bos-Herze403156-13
5Kazakhstan503258-33

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Belgium65102141716
2Czech Rep622210918
3Wales52217708
4Estonia5113815-74
5Belarus6105617-113

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Denmark66002202218
2Scotland632195411
3Israel63121411310
4Austria6213913-47
5Faroe Islands6114414-104
6Moldova6015318-151

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Netherlands75112361716
2Norway7421136714
3Turkey73311714312
4Montenegro7322119211
5Latvia7124711-45
6Gibraltar7007328-250

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Croatia75111111016
2Russia7511114716
3Slovenia731387110
4Slovakia72327619
5Malta7115615-94
6Cyprus7115111-104

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1England65101821616
2Albania6402106412
3Poland63211981111
4Hungary63121210210
5Andorra6105414-103
6San Marino6006124-230

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Germany76011931618
2North Macedonia7331156912
3Armenia7331810-212
4Romania7313108210
5Iceland7124715-85
6Liechtenstein7016219-171
View full World Cup Qualifying - European tables

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