Ryan Giggs handed double boost as Wales avoid Italy in opening Euro 2020 fixture and Gareth Bale makes rare start for Real Madrid
- Ryan Giggs says he was delighted to avoid an opening Euro 2020 trip to Italy
- The Wales manager is also glad they will be playing two games in Baku
- He received another boost as star man Gareth Bale made a rare Real Madrid start
Wales boss Ryan Giggs received a double boost on Saturday — avoiding Italy in the opening fixture of Euro 2020 and then hearing news that his star man Gareth Bale had made a rare start for Real Madrid.
Giggs knew before the draw in Bucharest that Wales would be placed in either Group A or B, but being paired in the former alongside Italy, Turkey and Switzerland was ideal, particularly as the order of games means they face Switzerland first while Italy and Turkey battle it out in the first game of the whole tournament in Rome on June 12.
‘We wanted to avoid playing Italy in Rome in the first game and we’ve done,’ said Giggs.
Ryan Giggs admits he was happy to avoid an opening Euro 2020 trip to Rome to face Italy
Wales will instead face Switzerland and Turkey before a final group stage clash with Italy
‘Italy will be favourites, then the rest of us are pretty competitive and we’ll all probably be fighting for second place.
‘We play Italy in the last game in Rome which is a tough one because they’ve come back in a big way, winning 10 qualifiers.
‘But it’s good to be playing the first two matches in Baku. I’m happy with that.
‘We won there (against Azerbaijan) a couple of weeks ago and playing consecutive matches there means we won’t have all the extra travel, Baku to Rome and then Baku again.
‘We have the opportunity to base ourselves there and get used to the heat and the facilities. Hopefully they’ll adopt us as their second country, having been there a couple of times, and support us.’
Giggs’ second piece of welcoming news came from Spain where Bale made a rare start for Real as they beat Alaves 2-1 to top La Liga.
Bale has been criticised in Spain for posing with a banner that read ‘Wales, Golf, Real Madrid’ as if that was the order of his priorities.
Wales secured their path to Euro 2020 after beating Hungary in their final qualifier
Giggs also admitted he was pleased to hear of Gareth Bale’s start for Real Madrid on Saturday
Giggs acknowledges he needs his main player in regular action.
‘I want to see all my players playing so that when they come to camp you don’t have to catch up with fitness or worry about bringing them off after 60 or 70 minutes. That’s all I hope for.
‘Where they play doesn’t matter, preferably at good clubs and Gareth is at one of biggest in the world.
‘He hasn’t been playing for them much coming to the last few camps but he’s done brilliant for us and because of his ability, fitness and passion he can do it,…