Pre-Match Build Up
Watford captain Troy Deeney has said the FA Cup semi-final is less exciting than the chance to build a legacy
Will Hughes says Watford won’t take Wolverhampton Wanderers game for granted after victory earlier in the season
Watford vs Wolverhampton Wanderers: Richard Lee would toss a coin to decide whether Ben Foster or Heurelho Gomes starts FA Cup semi-final
Watford vs Wolverhampton Wanderers: Javi Gracia says reaching FA Cup final would be the best achievement of his career
Watford vs Wolverhampton Wanderers: Ben Foster thinks it would be harsh to leave Heurelho Gomes out of the semi-final
Watford vs Wolverhampton Wanderers: Jave Gracia praises Nuno Espirito Santo ahead of FA Cup semi-final
Before the season began, Watford were joint-third favourites for relegation, considered by bookmakers to be better only than Cardiff and Huddersfield. Javi Gracia was fifth in the betting to be the first top-flight manager to be sacked. General opinion was clear, and scathing. Fast forward eight months and Watford are jostling with Wolves for both seventh place in the top flight and, on Sunday, a spot in the FA Cup final.
Watford’s FA Cup third round opponents Woking have offered their congratulations after incredible semi-final victory
Andre Gray believes ‘anything can happen’ against Manchester City after Watford’s FA Cup semi-final triumph
Watford captain Troy Deeney has drawn praise for emotional and open interviews following FA Cup semi-final win
Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster has said Javi Gracia will not need convincing to select Heurelho Gomes for the FA Cup final
Gerard Deulofeu delivered a sensational display after coming on as substitute to inspire Watford’s dramatic comeback from two goals down to beat Wolverhampton Wanderers after extra time in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.
The FA Cup has still got it. Try as some might to kill it off and downgrade its significance, Watford and Wolverhampton Wanderers produced a classic Wembley semi-final as a reminder that this great old competition can still touch all the sport’s senses.
The Rocket Men have lift off. It has been a long, long time since Watford were in the FA Cup final but they produced one of the greatest-ever comebacks in the history of this grand old competition to shatter Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Javi Gracia and his players simply refused to lose, to buy into the script that had Wolves continuing their fairytale season with a march into the final against Manchester City. It took a moment of magic to revive them and one of the highest drama to force extra time. And, with the tide of a tumultuous semi-final turned, there was a degree of inevitability about the winning goal, which was scored by Gerard Deulofeu.
As a manager you know it is definitely and incontrovertibly your day when you are faced with one major selection decision, get it demonstrably wrong and then win the game because of it. Javi Gracia’s first full season at Watford is going so well that even his mistakes work out.
Our first small victory comes with the visual display. Wolves’ tableau is impressive, but static. A statement. But it doesn’t compare to the frenzied energy of the waving of 33000 plastic flags, like insects swarming over the away end. You can hear our lot now. We’re fighting back. The game hasn’t even started, obviously. But we’re in it.
Then a throw-in from Holebas was knocked back to Deulofeu, it didn’t look particularly dangerous for the opposition until Gerry nonchalantly lifted the ball into the top far corner. It was a gorgeous goal out of nothing and suddenly it was game on with 10 minutes remaining.
It was all falling apart, visions of that day against Crystal Palace came flooding back into my mind. I had given up, Wolves don’t throw away two goal leads. On came Deulofeu to help try and salvage something from the game, hopefully he was able to give us the little bit of magic we needed.