Little old Wales have qualified for the knockout rounds of another major tournament. Leaving one question, do we dare to dream…again?!
Wales confirmed their second-place finish in the group on Sunday following a 1-0 loss to group favourites Italy. Following last night’s results, it has been confirmed that they are to play Denmark in Amsterdam in the last 16.
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Looking back at the group stages, personally, I always had faith that Wales would make it out of the group. The key result was not losing to Switzerland in the first game. The rest went as planned. Although many tipped Turkey to be dark horses in the competition, they weren’t even foals. Wales should have breezed past them in the first half. Bales penalty miss caused a lot of anxious moments in the 2nd half before he added a delightful assist to Connor Roberts in injury time to seal it.
It was expected that Wales probably wouldn’t get a result against the Italians, who have been seriously overlooked by many before the tournament. They are the real dark horses for the competition. Wales had to avoid getting beaten heavily, and they achieved that. Despite one of the worst red card decisions in a long time. How Ampadu was sent off I will never know. When the red card was flashed out so quickly, I thought the ref had pulled out the wrong card by accident. Only to have VAR confirm it. As good as VAR has been in this tournament, it reared it’s ugly side there.
As a small nation, with many a pundit (Majority of English descent) against them. Wales have proven that they can compete again when it comes to the big competitions. With Bale, Ramsey, and Allen (Who I do believe is finished following his Achilles injury last year) coming to the end of their peak years, they are still vital to this Wales side and perform admirably when pulling on their national shirt.
Wales have also made themselves hard to beat. They don’t concede many goals. That showed in the opening game, when despite the swiss having the majority of the ball, the defence held firm. And when they didn’t, Danny Ward saved everything. Ward alongside Joe Rodon for me have been Wales real standout players.
Having reached the semi-finals of the last Euros in 2016, do Wales fans dare to dream…again?
Denmark in the last 16 won’t be an easy game at all. A solid side with plenty of threat. Add that to the passion to play for Christian Eriksen after everything that happened to him, they will be fired up. But Wales are moore than capable of getting a result (see what I did there).
If Wales manages to defeat Denmark on Saturday 26th of June, that will more than likely set up a quarter-final clash with the Netherlands. The Netherlands, although quite potent in attack, do have vulnerabilities in the back. Wales could easily exploit them and do some damage. The route to the semi-final is possible. Can Wales make it? Absolutely. Can they better 2016? Who knows. But we can dare to dream…again!
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