Daniel James delighted to celebrate birth of baby with goal in 50th Wales cap

By Sports Desk March 22, 2024

Daniel James was delighted to celebrate the birth of his new baby by scoring on his 50th Wales appearance in the Euro play-off win over Finland.

Wales’ 4-1 victory set up a home play-off final against Poland on Tuesday, with a Euro 2024 place at stake in Germany this summer.

James’ second-half appearance from the bench came after a busy few days for the Leeds winger following the birth of his second child with partner Ria.

The 26-year-old had arrived late into the Wales camp on Monday before adding to the best scoring season of his career with a 13th goal for club and country.

“It was my newborn’s first game here and I’m delighted to have my 50th cap,” James said after acknowledging his new arrival with a thumb-sucking goal celebration in front of a capacity Cardiff City Stadium crowd.

“It’s an honour for me and my family so hopefully there’s many more.

“To score four here shows we’ve got goals all over the pitch.

“Everyone’s come into camp whether playing or not fit and ready. We really gelled as a team and we’ve got to take that into Tuesday.”

Poland will certainly represent a far tougher test in Cardiff than outgunned Finland did on Thursday.

They had an indifferent Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, losing three of their eight group games to finish behind Albania and the Czech Republic, but there is plenty of top-level European experience in Michal Probierz’s squad.

Robert Lewandowski remains their star turn at the age of 35 and has scored an incredible 82 international goals, although the Barcelona striker was not on the scoresheet in Thursday’s 5-1 semi-final rout of Estonia in Warsaw.

Poland have beaten Wales in their last six meetings, including a 2022 Nations League double-header when they won 2-1 in Wroclaw and 1-0 in Cardiff.

“We’ve played them before and they’re a very good team,” James told S4C.

“It’s going to be a tough game. We’ve got a couple days now to settle from this one and then we’ll be straight on it.

“To win 4-1 here is great, but the manager (Rob Page) said after the game that it’s only half-time.

“We’ve got a massive game on Tuesday now and we’re looking forward to it.”

Page is currently blessed with attacking options and had James, Kieffer Moore and Nathan Broadhead in reserve after choosing Brennan Johnson, David Brooks and Harry Wilson to fill his forward line.

Brooks and Johnson repaid Page’s faith by scoring, while Wilson was also sharp and went close on a couple of occasions.

“The biggest selection headache I had was at the top of the pitch, as was well documented,” said Page.

“It was a hard decision to make, but I knew having looked at the analysis that pace would hurt them.

“We’ve got Nathan, who’s playing really well at the top of the Championship scoring goals.

“Brooksy’s outstanding. Harry Wilson in the Premier League. Kieffer, Brennan, DJ. We’ve got competition for places.

“We’ve got a young and fitter squad now and we’ve got players playing regularly.

“So now it’s about getting a recovery session into them. Then back on the grass with a game plan ready to go Tuesday.”

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