Neco Williams reveals heartbreak behind tears after Wales’ World Cup opener

Neco Williams has revealed he played in Wales’ opening World Cup match against the USA after learning his grandad had died.

The 21-year-old Nottingham Forest full-back was in tears after the game at the Al Rayyan Stadium in Doha, Qatar, which finished 1-1.

He said just 24 hours before kick-off his mother had called him to tell him “the toughest news I’ve ever had to face”.

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“To go from crying all day to start in a World Cup game was extremely tough but I got through it from the support of my team-mates and family,” he wrote on Twitter.

“So I dedicate that game and a important point to him.”

He later wrote on Instagram: “Yesterday was the toughest news I’ve ever had to face and that was listening to my mum tell me my grandad past away last night.

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“He’s been everywhere around the world to watch me play football from when I first started playing at Liverpool at 6 years old.

“He’d never tell me if I had a good game because he always said I have to get better and better each day and that’s why I am where I am now!

“So I dedicate this game all to him because I know he’s up there watching down on me very proudly.”

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A late penalty scored by captain Gareth Bales earned Wales a draw last night in their first World Cup match for 64 years.

It was Bale’s 41st goal in 109 appearances for his country.

Wales' Gareth Bale reacts after scoring a goal during the World Cup, group B soccer match between the United States and Wales at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Image: Wales’ Gareth Bale reacts after scoring. Pic: AP

Wales next face Iran on Friday morning, while the USA take on Group B leaders England in the evening on the same day – after Gareth Southgate’s side won 6-2 earlier on Monday.

Wales boss Robert Page said: “They looked good, England. They’re the favourites to go and win the group. USA second favourites.

“There will be a few surprises along the way. We’re just going to plan for a tough game on Friday and see where that takes us going into the last game against England.”

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