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Joe Rodon relishing playing in another hostile Euro 2020 environment for Wales

By June 22, 2021No Comments

Joe Rodon has urged Wales to replicate the spirit of Baku with their supporters banned and Denmark fans allowed in to their Euro 2020 knockout stage clash in Amsterdam.

It was reported on Monday that Wales and Denmark supporters would not be allowed to attend the last-16 game at the Johan Cruyff Arena on Saturday because of Covid-19 regulations.

But the Danish Government said on Tuesday that Denmark fans will avoid quarantine in Holland by entering and leaving the country within 12 hours.

Joe Rodon relishing playing in another hostile Euro 2020 environment for Wales PLZ Soccer
Wales fans will not be allowed into the Denmark game in Amsterdam after a small band of them made the journey to Azerbaijan and Italy for the group stage (PA)

That has opened up the prospect of over 3,000 Denmark fans being part of an estimated 16,000 crowd in Amsterdam, leaving Wales – without any of their so-called ‘Red Wall’ support – feeling like the away side for the third time at the tournament.

Denmark, whose stricken midfielder Christian Eriksen is a popular figure in Amsterdam having spent five years at Ajax from 2008 to 2013, are also expected to carry the support of local Dutch fans.

Wales’ final group game was against Italy in Rome and, before that, they played Turkey in front of a hostile Baku crowd.

The close cultural ties between Azerbaijan and Turkey made that seem an away game for Wales, but Robert Page’s side won 2-0 to take a huge step towards the knockout phase.

Joe Rodon relishing playing in another hostile Euro 2020 environment for Wales PLZ Soccer
Denmark’s stricken midfielder Christian Eriksen is a popular figure in Amsterdam having spent five years of his playing career at Ajax (David Davies/PA)

“The Turkey game in Baku was a challenge we loved and enjoyed,” said Tottenham defender Rodon.

“Winning that game was a great feeling. It is frustrating that we can’t have our own fans, but we’ve just got to get on with it.

“I’m just delighted to have fans back in the stadium, to get that atmosphere back.

“That tension in the game, I can’t wait. It’s just normal going to away games in the season, something you have to be used to.

“It is a shame our fans can’t be there, but it makes us more excited to go to Amsterdam and put in a performance for them at home.”

Wales have drawn the short straw at Euro 2020 as far as travelling is concerned.

The Dragons made a 3,000-mile trip to Azerbaijan for their opening two group games against Switzerland and Turkey before moving on to Italy and now Holland.

Denmark have recovered from the shock of Eriksen’s cardiac arrest in their opener against Finland, progressing through to the last 16 on a huge wave of national emotion.

“It’s another challenge going to Amsterdam,” said Rodon, one of three Wales players to have played every minute of every game so far.

“It’s a big game and Denmark are a very good team. It will come down to moments in the game, but we’re going to have to be on it and focused for the whole 90 minutes or extra time.

“But we can’t wait for the weekend to come.”

Wales’ record goalscorer Gareth Bale has gone 14 games without scoring for his country and been guilty of some high-profile misses at this tournament.

Joe Rodon relishing playing in another hostile Euro 2020 environment for Wales PLZ Soccer
Wales captain Gareth Bale has yet to score at Euro 2020 ((Alberto Lingria/AP)

Skipper Bale fired a penalty over the crossbar in the Turkey win and also missed a golden chance to equalise against Italy on Sunday.

But Rodon said: “Watching him for years and being lucky enough to play with him now, I know Gareth can do whatever he wants to on the pitch.

“He’s a special player and to all of us he’s a massive player as well.

“He’s a big leader in the group and we’re just delighted we have a player of that calibre in our national team.”

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