Wales at Euro 2016: A Reasonable Prediction

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Euro 2016 is almost upon us, and it’s around this time that everyone starts speculating about which teams will do well, who the underdogs will be, and which sides will fail their countries. An especially interesting nation to consider is Wales.

Wales at Euro 2016: A Reasonable Prediction

Chris Coleman’s men hadn’t qualified for a major tournament since 1958 until securing their place in France this coming June. What an incredible achievement. The question really is whether they will buckle under the pressure of their hopeful supporting home fans. It also remains to be seen as to whether they’ll really get anywhere in the competition; they aren’t of the same technical calibre of Germany, they don’t possess the patriotic gusto of host nation, France, and they probably don’t have as much to prove as previously lacklustre Spain.

My prediction is a fair one: Wales will utilise their firepower upfront and net a few corking goals, but they won’t make the cut for quarter-final stages and beyond.

On Monday 9th May, Coleman is to present his squad list for the tournament. Wales will begin their Euro 2016 bid against Slovakia on 11th June, which doesn’t sound a particularly alarming fixture, as their opponents aren’t branded with any great status. However, this will surely see Wales work to prove their place.

Wales have quite the stature to become the flop of the competition. However, knowing this often spurs teams on to drive harder and doggedly push for goals. They not only have Slovakia in their Group B draw, but Russia and England, too. Roy Hodgson’s England will probably aim to look the strongest UK side, but might not execute that target well. More often than not, England have been disappointing. However, if Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane and other such Premier League, home-grown household favourites join the starting eleven, then Wales’ fiercest rivals in their grouping could well be the Three Lions.

In 10 matches played during the qualification rounds, Wales won six, drew three and lost only once. This isn’t bad at all, for a somewhat under-flourished force. What really hammers this statistic home is that, for a midfielder, Gareth Bale is really carrying the team. During those same 10 fixtures, the Real Madrid star bagged seven goals, affirming his role within his national side, but further showing why he is so pivotal for Madrid. Thus, Coleman really cannot afford for Bale to acquire an injury… provided that he’s on the team sheet on the 9th.

Just as Gareth Bale is synonymous with Welsh football, so is Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey. In eight of the qualifying matches that he featured in, Ramsey found the net twice. That’s still a fairly pleasing number. In terms of goals, both of these men play within the middle of the pitch – and up the wing – but have more of an impact in the opposing box than the squad’s actual attacking line. Interesting.

For this reason – and almost this alone – Wales might have a shot at the Euros. At the very least, they might just make the underdogs cut for a while. Whether they can trump England remains to be demonstrated, but they certainly have a solid chance of shaking things up in Group B. If Bale and Ramsay align in harmony and lead the team, these boys could form something extraordinary. However, in all honesty, the rest of the squad could look rather basic and without direction if they didn’t have these men.

Back on 13th October 2015, Chris Coleman and his band of Welshmen were informed of their qualification for Euro 2016. If they can employ a ‘business as usual’ tactic, then they might well forge some excitement. Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsay really will be the ones to make or break the fortunes of Wales at Euro 2016.