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Wales 1-0 Latvia: Kieffer Moore heads Rob Page's side to victory as Gareth Bale gets Cardiff farewell

Report as Wales move onto four points from their first two games in Group D; Kieffer Moore heads the hosts into the lead just before the break from Dan James' cross; Gareth Bale addresses the crowd before kick-off after retiring from football in January

Kieffer Moore opened the scoring for Wales
Image: Kieffer Moore opened the scoring for Wales

Kieffer Moore's first-half header secured a 1-0 win for Wales over Latvia at the Cardiff City Stadium to put them top of their Euro 2024 qualifying group.

Former Wales captain and the nation's record goalscorer Gareth Bale was given a send-off before kick-off following his retirement from football in January as he thanked supporters for their support throughout his career.

Gareth Bale watches on as Wales beat Latvia 1-0 in Cardiff
Image: Gareth Bale watches on as Wales beat Latvia 1-0 in Cardiff

Wales endured a frustrating start to the game, but they took the lead just before half-time (41) as Moore rose to meet Dan James' cross to clinch victory over the group's lowest-ranked team.

After nicking a point in Croatia with a dramatic late goal in their first game, Wales are now level with Zlatko Dalic's side on four points but ahead on their head-to-head record thanks to Nathan Broadhead's goal in Split.

Wales player ratings

Ward (7), Roberts (6), Mepham (7), Rodon (7), Williams (7), Ampadu (7), Wilson (7), Ramsey (7), Morrell (7), Moore (8), James (7).

Subs: Broadhead (6), Cooper (N/A), Cabango (N/A)

Player of the match: Kieffer Moore.

Team news

  • Wales boss Rob Page stuck with the side that drew 1-1 in Croatia in their first Group D game.
  • Goalscorer Nathan Broadhead had to settle for a place on the bench despite his heroics in Split.

How Wales overcame Latvia

Moore celebrates his opener against Latvia
Image: Moore celebrates his opener against Latvia

Wales made a bright start and nearly took the lead as James' cross found Harry Wilson in the box but the Fulham winger's strike was straight at Latvia goalkeeper Pavels Steinbors.

Page's side failed to keep up the pace and were nearly caught out from a corner by the visitors as Danny Ward had to get down low to his left to keep out Latvia defender Marcis Oss' first-time effort.

Latvia were able to keep the home crowd quiet for most of the first half, reducing Wales to speculative efforts from range. Wilson, Moore and Ethan Ampadu all did their best to beat Steinbors but failed to hit the target.

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But the opener came four minutes before the break through Moore as he leapt highest to head James' lofted delivery into the bottom corner to inject some life into the Cardiff City Stadium.

Wales were buoyed by their opener and twice came close to doubling their lead early in the second half only for Latvia goalkeeper Steinbors to keep out efforts from Neco Williams and Wilson, tipping the former's strike on to the frame of the goal.

Latvia - ranked 133rd in the FIFA world rankings - battled hard but failed to find a way back into the contest owing to a shortage of quality as Wales controlled the game and moved into a strong position in Group D after two games.

Bale bids farewell to Wales

Gareth Bale bids farewell to the Wales fans
Image: Gareth Bale bids farewell to the Wales fans

An emotional Bale was serenaded on the pitch at the Cardiff City Stadium as he was given a send-off by the Wales fans - and he left them with a parting message.

"I just want to say what an honour it has been to represent my country and play in front of the best fans in the world," said Bale, 33, addressing the capacity crowd after flying back from his Los Angeles home.

"You've supported me and my family through the lowest of lows and the highest of highs.

"It's been a pleasure to play in front of you throughout my whole career.

"You make it so special to what it is today and I will be cheering on like you. I will see you see some time in the future."

Page: Job done but we aren't getting carried away

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Wales manager Rob Page claims he's delighted that his side have hit the target of four points from their first two European Championship qualifiers against Croatia and Latvia.

Wales manager Rob Page:

"We knew the challenges we were going to be up against.

"We got a point in Croatia and and have then won the home game, so it's job done. We created chances to win that game comfortably, and we nullified their threat.

"We know the importance of Kieffer. He played 90-odd minutes for us and the goal was excellent.

"We won't get carried away. It is a great start for us. It's an eight-game season, and the first two games have gone really well for us. There is a good energy in the changing room."

On Bale, he added: "Gareth was with us last night. He had an evening meal with us, and he came in to see the lads before the game.

"He had his moment with the supporters, and rightly so. It would have been really special for him."

Kazakevics: Wales were stronger

Latvia head coach Dainis Kazakevics:

"Wales were stronger. While we could have done better, they had more possession and chances.

"Moore and (Aaron) Ramsey were two of the players we had identified before the game and, along with their wingers, were the main threats. In our preparations, we gave them most attention.

"We cannot be satisfied with the result."

Where and when is Euro 2024?

Germany are hosting the tournament, which is scheduled to take place from June 14 to July 14 2024.

The format will be the same as Euro 2020, where the top two in each of the six final tournament groups will proceed to the round of 16, along with the four best third-placed finishers.

What's next?

Wales continue their Euro 2024 Qualifying campaign on June 16 when they host Armenia in Cardiff - kick-off 7.45pm.

Robert Page's side then travel to Turkey on June 19 - kick-off 7.45pm.

Latvia's next game is at home to Turkey on June 16 - kick-off 7.45pm - before they travel to Armenia on June 19, kick-off 5pm.

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