Wales coach Robert Page questioned the decision to issue a straight red card to Ethan Ampadu during
the defeat to Italy
Ampadu was given his marching orders in the 55th minute when his studs connected on the ankle of Federico Bernardeschi.
Referee Ovidiu Hategan showed no hesitation in showing Ampadu a red card and Wales were forced to see out much of the second half with just 10 men.
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With Switzerland comfortably beating Turkey
in the other group game, Wales couldn’t afford to fall further behind to Italy and risk losing their qualification spot for the next round to the Swiss.
Page was clearly at odds with Ampadu’s sending off, branding the decision "unbelievable".
“It didn't quite go to plan the press in the first half,” Page told BBC Sport.
"We addressed it at half-time and we managed to get Ethan Ampadu as the centre of the diamond and get him on the ball a little bit more at the start of the second half.
The sending-off changed the course of the game. I haven't seen it again yet. I thought it was harsh to get a booking but to see the red card come out was unbelievable.
"Then of course it's an even bigger hill to climb.”
Wales hung on, however, and can now look forward to a last 16 clash. Italy top Group A after a perfect record in the group stages.
Page’s side will play the Group B runners-up in their next game, which is likely to be Russia, Finland or Denmark with Belgium expected to finish top of that group.
Wales will be without Ampadu due to suspension and midfielder Aaron Ramsey was also disappointed with the referee’s decision to send off the 20-year-old.
Federico Bernardeschi of Italy is fouled by Ethan Ampadu of Wales before he is shown a red card during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group A match
Image credit: Getty Images
"It was tough for long periods. We were up against a great team who have gone 30 games unbeaten - that's some achievement,” Ramsey said.
But we showed great character, you can never question this team, we always give everything and we dug in.
"I feel sorry for Ethan [Ampadu] - it was a bit harsh maybe. He certainly caught him, it was one of those decisions that could have gone either way.
"It was important to create a couple of opportunities and we could have nicked a draw on another day.
“We need to be more consistent throughout the game but we are through in second place and we are delighted."
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