Winning start for Wales as James strike proves decisive

Wales are off and running in their quest to reach the Euro 2020 finals after Dan James's fifth-minute goal sealed a 1-0 success over Slovakia at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Swansea speedster James – making his first start for the national team – lashed a stinging shot past Martin Dubravka before continuing to impress with his lightning pace and clever movement.

Gareth Bale had a quiet game but a young and vibrant Welsh team were the better side for the opening hour and their goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey came to the rescue late on with a decent save from a near-post header from Slovakian substitute Michal Duris.

There is huge potential for Wales to improve but they are still flying under the radar at 66-1 in the tournament betting.

Wales have been cut from 4-1 to 11-4 to win Group E, while Slovakia have drifted from 7-1 to 10-1.

Kazakhstan's flying start to Group I ground to a halt when they lost 4-0 to Russia in Astana.

Denis Cheryshev's brace put Russia 2-0 up at the break and further gloss was added by Artem Dzyuba and an Absal Beysebekov own goal.

Russia coped far better with their trip to Kazakhstan than Scotland, who lost 3-0 at the same venue on Thursday.

But their impressive victory has not influenced the bookmakers, who are still offering 66-1 about a Russian triumph at Euro 2020.

Match in Focus

15:00 Sa 25May SKY

Newport Co v Tranmere

Home WinDrawAway Win
Key stats
  • Newport are unbeaten in 12 matches.
Expert verdict
Michael Flynn’s Newport headed into the playoffs as the fourth tier’s form side, securing seventh spot by finishing the season ten games unbeaten. Tranmere will know all too well about County’s disciplined defensive, having failed to score in both league meetings with them and, even with James Norwood leading the line, they look vulnerable.

 

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