Wales boss Robert Page admits his side have exceeded expectations by taking four points from their opening two European Championship qualifiers to top their group.
While on paper this was a 1-0 win over a country ranked a lowly 133rd in the world, for Wales’ manager, players and fans, it felt like a seismic step after their shock draw in Croatia.
Retirements and injuries had only added to a sense of gloom for Wales after a disappointing showing at the 2022 World Cup, but the start of Euro qualifying has proved an unexpected tonic.
A shock point in Split was followed up by a 1-0 win over Latvia on a night where Wales got a glimpse of their future as they bid farewell to their past with men’s record-scorer Gareth Bale saying goodbye to the home fans.
“We hoped for four points, the minimum we would have accepted was three and we knew the challenge we were up against,” said Page.
“It’s job done for us. We created chances to win it comfortably and nullified their threat.
“If we have to keep a clean sheet and win 1-0, that’s a good sign.”
Page had promised to put his own stamp on Wales after a disappointing exit at the group stage of the World Cup and feels his side have made encouraging steps.
“The first steps were on Saturday night in Croatia… and we’ve played a certain way again tonight,” he said.
“I think everyone can see the energy that has gone into the team.”
Bale involved with squad ahead of match
Page revealed men’s record scorer and appearance-maker Bale has been around the camp since Wales returned to Cardiff.
“He was with us last night, he had an evening meal with us,” Page said.
“I think he went and had a round of golf today, no surprises there, and then he came in to see the lads before the game.
“Rightly so, he then went out and had his moment with our supporters because it’s been a really big decision for him to make [to retire].
“We all know in the room what he thinks of the nation and what it means to him to play for us and to have that moment tonight would have been really special.”
Page said Bale did not want a huge fuss to be made over his appearance the Cardiff City Stadium as he did not want to overshadow his former team-mates.
“It was exactly that, he sees the bigger picture,” he added.
“He wanted that moment and rightly so, but he thinks of the team and he didn’t want to take our eye away from getting the three points.”
Moore thrilled with Wales’ fast start
Goal-scorer Kieffer Moore, whose powerful header took him to double figures for international goals and earned Wales the win, believes it was vital Wales followed-up their draw in Croatia with a victory.
“I was delighted to get on the score sheet but main thing is we have come away with three points,” he told S4C.
“We put in a very rigid and tough performance against Croatia to come out with a point and to back that up today with another three points is massive for us.
“We have got a great start now we have just got to keep building on It. We’ve got new faces in the building and it is looking very good for us.”