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Wales’ Roman holiday will not live long in the memory.

This was not a night that will go down in the annals of Welsh football folklore as Rob Page’s side disappointed and Ethan Ampadu became the youngest player to be shown a straight red card at a Euro.

Chuck in some slack defending for Italy’s winner and a glaring miss by Gareth Bale, and it is a game best forgotten.

Thankfully for Wales, it did not matter because of the great work they did in Baku to effectively secure a place in the last 16.

They duly confirmed qualification in second place to earn a last-16 tie against the Group B runners-up in Amsterdam on Saturday.

Italy's Matteo Pessina celebrates his opening goal against Wales
(Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Wales deserve huge credit for punching above their weight yet again and a nation of just 3.2million people have made it to the knock-out stages for the second Euro running.

Many a bigger European country would love to be able to say that and Wales would have happily settled for second spot at the start of the tournament.

The one positive Page can highlight was the character Wales’ 10 men showed to stop Italy adding to Matteo Pessina’s goal and threaten their runners-up position, which they claimed from Switzerland on goal difference.

The Azzurri juggernaut rolls on to Wembley next Saturday and Roberto Mancini is their first coach since the double World Cup-winning Vittorio Pozzo in the 1930s to go 30 games unbeaten.

They have won 11 games in succession and gone 1,055 minutes since they last conceded.

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It was always going to be hard for Wales against a side so bang in form and it did not help that Page felt forced to ditch Wednesday’s winning formula.

He left Kieffer Moore, Ben Davies and Chris Mepham on the bench because they are a booking away from a suspension to go with a 3-4-3 formation he had only previously used for 45 minutes against Albania.

Aaron Ramsey struggled as a false nine before the introduction of Moore allowed him to drop into a more-comfortable deeper role, while the wing-backs did not give Wales the defensive solidity Page wanted.

Italy, despite Mancini’s eight changes, dominated possession and territory and the busy Danny Ward saved from Emerson and Pessina before Federico Chiesa had a shot deflected wide.

Despite being pegged back, Wales went close when Chris Gunter fizzed a header from Daniel James’ corner just past the top corner.

Ethan Ampadu was sent off for Wales
(Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

That was a rare foray for Wales and Italy deservedly opened the scoring on 39 minutes with a well-executed goal.

The personnel may change for Italy, but the quality levels don’t and Marco Verratti, back after six weeks out with a knee injury, swung in a free-kick from the right for Pessina to deftly touch home.

Italy almost repeated the trick when Verratti played in another ball, which Pessina almost converted before Federico Bernardeschi hit the post from a free-kick.

Wales had isolated chances and Francesco Acerbi’s mistake let Ramsey in on the right, but the angle was tight and Gianluigi Donnarumma blocked him.

Wales’ task became even harder when Ampadu was shown a straight red card for catching Bernardeschi late on his ankle on 56 minutes.

The Welsh dug deep and Ward saved twice from Andrea Belotti and a deflected effort from Bryan Cristante.

Bale might even have snatched a late equaliser when, unmarked, he volleyed over.