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France 3-0 Wales: Dragons boss Robert Page to appeal ‘harsh’ Neco Williams red card

Wales' Neco Williams was sent off as his arm was judged to have deflected Karim Benzema's shot
Wales’ Neco Williams was sent off as his arm was judged to have deflected Karim Benzema’s shot

Interim manager Robert Page says Wales will appeal against the red card shown to Neco Williams during Wednesday’s 3-0 friendly defeat against France.

Williams, 20, was sent off for handball after just 25 minutes in Nice and is now suspended for Saturday’s pre-Euro 2020 friendly against Albania.

Wales want the ban rescinded so the Liverpool defender can gain match fitness for their first Euro 2020 game against Switzerland on 12 June.

“It’s a bitter one to take,” said Page.

“I thought it was harsh to give a penalty in the first place but to send him off was a bitter blow.

“We’ll have a look at it [appealing against the decision], the staff are waiting to have a debrief and that will be one thing that we’ll speak about.

“That’s the disappointing thing, the plan was to play him for so many minutes tonight and then building up to Saturday, and we can’t do that now.

“If there’s a chance of doing it [appealing], we’ll do it.”

Wales’ match against France was still goalless when Williams was sent off after referee Luis Godinho had consulted with the video assistant referee (VAR), deciding his handball had illegally impeded a goal-bound effort from Karim Benzema.

The home side then went on to win 3-0 thanks to goals from Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele.

Although the result was academic, Page felt the red card ruined the contest for both teams. He also revealed the fourth official, Iancu Ioan Vasilica, later apologised to him.

“It spoilt the game, changed the course of the game, for France as well I imagine because they wanted to get a lot out of the game,” said Page.

“When you’ve got 11 men against France it’s tough, so to go down to 10 men you use it then as a tool if the same thing happens in the tournament.

“The fourth official apologised just after half-time. When I said we’d had a look at it [the incident], he just said ‘sorry coach’.

“I’m not sure if he was apologising for the decision or the position we ended up in.

“It was a hard one to take. The penalty was bad enough, to send him off was very harsh.”

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