Norrington-Davies ‘elated’ after netting first goal for Cymru

By Dylan Halliday   |   Sports editor   |
Thursday 9th June 2022 9:43 am
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CARDIFF, WALES - 05 JUNE 2022: Wales' Brennan Johnson  and Wales' Rhys Norrington-Davies celebrate after beating Ukraine 1-0 to book a place at the 2022 FIFA World Cup at the Cardiff City Stadium on the 5th of June 2022. (Pic by John Smith/FAW)
(right), who scored against the Netherlands on Wednesday night, and Brennan Johnson celebrate after Sunday’s 1-0 win against Ukraine (John Smith/FAW )

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Aberystwyth’s Rhys Norrington-Davies capped another fine performance for Cymru with his first goal on the international stage which seemed set to give Rob Page’s men a first point in their Group A4 of the UEFA Nations League.

His bullet header at the far post two minutes into stoppage time saw wild scenes of celebration at the Cardiff City Stadium last night but the joy was short-lived as Wout Weghorst netted a very late winner for the Netherlands.

It was a cruel blow for a much-changed Wales side, who secured their place at the World Cup finals three days earlier with a 1-0 victory against Ukraine.

Page made seven changes with only Joe Rodon, Connor Roberts, Dan James and Ben Davies keeping their places in the starting line-up, but the home side competed as equals in the first half with Norrington-Davies a stand-out performer down the left.

Cymru’s best attacking moments came down his side, his pace down the flank causing the away defence problems, and he almost broke the deadlock when he headed just over the bar after latching on to Chris Mepham’s cross.

CARDIFF, WALES - 05 JUNE 2022: Wales' Rhys Norrington-Davies at full time during the 2022 FIFA World Cup play-off final between Wales & Ukraine at the Cardiff City Stadium on the 5th of June 2022. (Pic by Ashley Crowden/FAW)
Former Ysgol Penglais pupil Rhys Norrington-Davies is all smiles after Cymru beat Ukraine in the World Cup playoff final on Sunday (Ashley Crowden/FAW ) (Ashley Crowden/FAW)

The Dutch, who were much changed themselves after their convincing 4-1 Nations League opener win against Belgium on Friday night, finished the first half strongly and took the lead five minutes after the restart when Teun Koopmeiners’ low shot beat substitute goalkeeper Adam Davies.

Former Ysgol Penglais pupil Norrington-Davies produced his best performance in a Welsh shirt, building on a very solid outing in last week’s 2-1 Nations League defeat in Poland.

The 23-year-old Sheffield United defender will now look to play a part in the upcoming Nations League fixtures against Belgium in Cardiff on Saturday and the return in the Netherlands on Tuesday.

Norrington-Davies said: “I feel that we played well against a top side but we’re disappointed with the result having got ourselves back into the game.

“That second goal was obviously disappointing to concede and something we need to look back on and improve on.

“I was delighted to get the goal but disappointed with the result and we have to look at that so it’s a disappointing night for myself.”

He added: “We all want a place at the World Cup so we’re battling it out. Quite a few youngsters played this evening, we got vital minutes and we’ve just got to show what we’ve got.

“We can take a lot of positive from the games but at the end of the day we haven’t got a point yet.

“Looking back at the Poland game I felt we deserved more there and obviously tonight we could have at least have taken a point.”

Rhys’ father Patrick said this morning: “The key word from last night was ‘buzzing’.

“This time when Rhys entered the players’ lounge you could tell he was absolutely buzzing. We had a massive hug and a quick catch up before he was back on the bus as they go again Saturday.

“Rhys was very happy with his performance against a well-drilled and skilled opposition and elated with his goal.

“With his performance against Poland and the Netherlands he hopes he has done enough to be included in the squad that travels to Qatar in November.”

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