Chris Mepham earned his third cap for Wales last night as Ryan Giggs’ men opened their Nations League campaign with a thumping win over Republic of Ireland in Cardiff.
The Bees 20-year-old defender started alongside Ashley Williams but the pair were rarely tested during the opening 45 minutes at the Cardiff City Stadium. It took just six minutes for the Red Dragons to open the scoring; Tom Lawrence supplying the finish to Joe Allen’s fine through ball. Gareth Bale then curled home a fine second before Aaron Ramsey made it 3-0 just before the break.
Connor Roberts added a fourth on the hour as Giggs’ side threatened to run riot. However, a late slip by goal-scorer Ramsey allowed Ireland to pull one back through Millwall’s Shaun Williams. That goal was the first conceded by Chris at international level, but it did little to take the gloss off the evening’s work.
Next up in Group B4 of the Nations League, Wales travel to Aarhus on Sunday to face World Cup Quarter-Finalists Denmark, kick-off 5pm. That trip became a far more difficult proposition last night as an agreement was reached between the Danish FA and Players’ Union which saw the original squad, including Henrik Dalsgaard, Christian Eriksen, and Kasper Schmeichel, recalled to international duty for the game.
Fellow Bee Alan Judge did not feature for Martin O’Neill’s side in Cardiff last night, failing to make the matchday 23, but he will hope to be involved on Tuesday as the Boys in Green head to Poland for a friendly match.
Chris’s central defensive partner Ezri Konsa was also in action for his nation last night as England’s Under-21s drew 0-0 with their Dutch counterparts in a European Championship qualifier at Carrow Road. Aidy Boothroyd’s Young Lions dominated the game but couldn’t turn chances into the goals which would have all-but booked their spot in Italy next summer.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin twice saw efforts saved and Demarai Gray curled a shot against the crossbar. The draw preserves England's unbeaten status in qualifying and their five-point advantage over the Dutch. With three games remaining, the first of which is in Latvia on Tuesday, Boothroyd's side are still clear favourites to go through to the finals next June.
Last night’s appearance was Ezri’s third for the England Under-21s, for whom he is yet to concede a goal, and eighth in total at Youth Level.
Watch our international Bees live at Griffin Park when they are back here on Saturday 15 September, to face Wigan Athletic. We expect lots of Bees family in and around the ground on the day with kids tickets only £1 and Adults just £20 so book yours now.