Wales and South Korea draw blank in friendly Rob Page ‘didn’t want to play’


At least there was no stoppage time. It was a friendly game the Wales manager, Rob Page, confessed he did not really want and so perhaps it was inevitable his team would play out a forgettable stalemate in their first meeting with South Korea.

The preface to the match was Wales’s sorry record of late – it is now one win in 13 matches – and if that does not improve in Latvia on Monday, when they resume their ailing Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, the glare will only intensify on the under-pressure Page.

The announced attendance of 13,668 is the lowest home crowd for four years. By the end those Wales supporters who did bother resorted to making their own entertainment, singing the substitute David Brooks’s name on loop for almost the entire final 15 minutes. If anything encapsulated the occasion it was the sight of Son Heung-min leaning on his Tottenham clubmate, friend and opponent for the night Joe Rodon to shake off a bout of cramp in the closing stages.

Uefa regulations stipulate that nations in odd-numbered qualifying groups must fulfil blank dates in the calendar when group rivals are playing and so here was the non-event seemingly nobody wanted. “I said I didn’t want to play it and I got criticised for saying it but that’s the truth,” Page said afterwards. “From a selfish point of view, I stick by that. We didn’t want any injuries. We’ve got a load of positives out of it and we take that momentum on to Monday’s game.”