Belfast Telegraph

Giggs playing waiting game as Ramsey targets Croatia battle


By Staff Reporter

Ryan Giggs hopes Aaron Ramsey will recover in time for the Euro 2020 qualifier with Croatia on Sunday after being forced to leave the Juventus star at home for the crunch tie in Slovakia.

Ramsey's unavailability has been a constant theme of Wales' European Championship qualifying programme, with the 28-year-old yet to feature in the Dragons' campaign.

The former Arsenal midfielder did train yesterday morning, but Giggs' squad flew to Slovakia without him.

"He did a bit of training and the physio has stayed back to work with him," Wales manager Giggs said ahead of tonight's Group E clash in Trnava.

"We are hopeful that he will be available for Sunday."

Wales trail group leaders Croatia by four points and are three adrift of Slovakia and Hungary.

They have a game in hand on all of their rivals and Giggs knows they must improve away from home after summer defeats in Croatia and Hungary.

"We need to play better, but the circumstances were different in the summer," Giggs said.

"Some players hadn't played for five weeks. You can always lose in football, but it is how you come back that's important."

Uefa had originally ordered for the game to be played behind closed doors, with Slovakia fans found guilty of making "illicit chants" during last month's victory in Hungary.

Slovakia won their appeal against the fans' ban, saying the chants had been political rather than racist, and there will be a 20,000 sell-out crowd at Trnava's Anton Malatinsky Stadium.

Uefa's three-step protocol for racial abuse ends with the officials abandoning a match if announcements inside a stadium do not stop the problem, but Giggs says he has not spoken to his players about the issue.

"It is not something we have really talked about," Giggs said.

"We recognise racism is a problem, but I don't like to preempt what might happen. Hopefully we have a good game of football with no problems."

Slovakia  vs Wales

Euro 2020 qualifying, Group E:

Stadión Antona Malatinského, 7.45pm

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