what to know about Wales

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The selection’s qualification path and the group

After failing to win their ticket to the World Cup in Russia (2018), Wales returned with better intentions for Euro 2020. Placed in a relatively homogeneous group in qualifying with Croatia, Slovakia, Hungary and Azerbaijan, the Dragons qualified by snatch for the second Euro in their history, after that of 2016 in France. Wales has indeed obtained the last ticket for the European Nations Championship by winning against Hungary (2-0), a direct competitor, thanks to a brace from Aaron Ramsey in the 10th and last playoff day. Wales finished 2nd in their group with 14 points, just behind Croatia (17 points). Gareth Bale’s partners have, with 6 goals conceded, the status of best defense in their group E, nevertheless scoring only 10 times. Placed in group A of this Euro 2020 along with Italy, Switzerland and Turkey, Wales can believe in their chances of reaching the knockout stage.

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The qualities and weaknesses of the selection

What if Wales repeat their 2016 performance? Five years after having impressed in France for the first Euro in their history (elimination in the semi-finals against Portugal), the Dragons will enter the competition with the label of outsider. Because if the Italians are the big favorites of this group, the Swiss and the Turks seem within the reach of this Welsh formation. If Ryan Giggs, over the past three years, has tried several systems of play by trying out many players, Robert Page, who has led the last 5 meetings of the Welsh side, clearly seems to favor a 3-4-3 system with stability. The Welsh will rely on their main qualities and will especially have to apply to the letter the precepts of a game involving diabolical efficiency. Wales is indeed a team used to suffering and preferring to leave possession to its opponent (30% possession on average over the last 3 games) in order to be able to assert its strengths and let speak the explosiveness and speed of his players on the counterattack. For this, the Welsh people can count on the return to form of their captain Gareth Bale (Tottenham), who will be responsible for guiding his people in this Euro and boosting the Welsh offensives on his right lane. In contrast, the explosive Daniel James (Manchester United) will also be responsible for creating danger on his left side.

And how not to mention the importance of Aaron Ramsey (Juventus) for the Welsh, he who had finished co-best passer of Euro 2016 (4 offerings) with Eden Hazard? If he is in good shape, his repeated races will be a major asset for his people in the transition phases. If Wales does not have, on paper, a plethora of stars unlike other larger nations, it has in its ranks several interesting young elements such as Harry Wilson (who plays in fake No. 9), Ethan Ampadu or Joe Rodon also having a little not insignificant experience at the highest level. One of the main uncertainties remains at the level of confrontations facing major selections. Since Euro 2016, the Dragons have not really had the opportunity to rub shoulders with the gratin of world football. The few times that this has been the case, Wales have struggled (defeat against Belgium and Croatia), which may raise some questions about their ability to withstand the onslaught of a heavily armed team opposite. Especially since Danny Ward, who seems to hold the rope in the hierarchy of goalkeepers in front of the very experienced Wayne Hennessey, only serves as an understudy at Leicester and has no reference at the highest level, behind a young and relatively inexperienced defense. A phrase from Robert Page, dating from March, finally sums up perfectly the state of mind of the 17th nation in the FIFA rankings: “It’s pretty exciting trying to make the story. « 

The coach: Robert Page

Appointed on January 15, 2018 at the head of Wales, Ryan Giggs thought he would have his first international competition as a coach. But now, the former emblematic player of Manchester United is accused of domestic violence and the Welsh federation took the decision, last April, to dismiss the man with 930 matches with the Red Devils for Euro 2020. Robert Page , who was already acting in the last five Dragons meetings in March, is therefore the man in charge of the Welsh selection for this European Nations Championship played in 11 different countries. Former player of Watford, Cardiff or Sheffield United, the native of Llwynypia has, after experiences of assistant and number one in Port Vale then in Northampton, climbed the ranks with Wales. Robert Page first went through the U17s, U19s and U21s before becoming Ryan Giggs’ assistant. And therefore to ensure the interim since November 3, 2020. For the moment, his record as main coach is honorable, with 4 wins and 1 defeat (against Belgium, 1-3) in 5 games. Like Wales, the pressure is clearly not on his shoulders and he can enter this competition with a free spirit.

Player to watch: Gareth Bale

Captain of Wales, world football star, belonging to one of the biggest clubs on the planet (Real Madrid) and playing in one of the most famous championships in the world (Premier League, loaned to Tottenham), Gareth Bale has all the arguments to be the player to watch in this selection. Especially since the left-handed striker is an essential link in the cog of his team. This is good because the Cardiff native ended the 2020-2021 fiscal year with great fanfare with Spurs, with whom he scored 16 goals and provided 3 assists in 34 appearances in all competitions. A return to form which comes at the best of times for Robert Page, who will therefore certainly be able to rely on an element of experience that has already proven its value at the highest level. Gareth Bale’s mission will be to lead his country to the top while mentoring and supporting his young teammates, who dream of a new achievement from Wales to the Euro.

The Welsh 26 List

Guardians: Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Daniel Ward (Leicester City), Adam Davies (Stoke City)

Defenders: Joe Rodon (Tottenham), Chris Mepham (Bournemouth), Chris Gunter (Charlton Athletic), Rhys Norrington-Davies (Sheffield United), Neco Williams (Liverpool), Connor Roberts (Swansea City), Ben Cabango (Swansea City), Ben Davies (Tottenham), Tom Lockyer (Luton Town)

Environments : Joe Allen (Stoke City), Joe Morrell (Luton Town), Ethan Ampadu (Chelsea), Matthew Smith (Manchester City), Jonathan Williams (Cardiff City), Aaron Ramsey (Juventus), Dylan Levitt (Manchester United), Rubin Colwill ( Cardiff City), Harry Wilson (Liverpool), David Brooks (Bournemouth)

Attackers: Daniel James (Manchester United), Kieffer Moore (Cardiff City), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Tyler Roberts (Leeds)

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