Wales still looking strong ahead of Euro 2020 qualification campaign
Image source via https://twitter.com/Colemans_Dream
Ryan Giggs' tenure as Wales boss has been an up and down one, with the Welsh Dragons starting incredibly well under him with a rampant 4-1 win over Ireland a particular highlight, only for a few defeats, most notably against Denmark recently, to bring everyone connected to the side down to earth somewhat.
The 2-1 defeat against the Danish at the Cardiff City Stadium in the UEFA Nations League resulted in disappointment for a campaign that promised so much at the start. The Manchester United legend's side missed out on promotion to the Nations League's top tier, leaving the Danes to claim top spot in Group B4 and guaranteeing them at least a play-off to qualify for Euro 2020.
As for Wales, attention now turns to their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign in 2019. The draw for the group stage is yet to be made, but despite their negative ending to the inaugural Nations League competition there were some promising signs for Wales ahead of their qualification tilt.
The UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying games will be played from March 2019 to March 2020 to determine the 24 UEFA member men's national teams that will advance to the UEFA Euro 2020 final tournament, which is being hosted in 13 cities across Europe. The semi-finals and final - a stage of the competition Wales will be vying to reach - is being held at the world famous Wembley Stadium in London. Odds on Wales to reach the final and win the competition in 2020, although perhaps a long shot, is currently priced at 66/1 (bet365). France, incidentally, are favourites at 4/1, with England back at 8/1. Other 'home nations' like Ireland are 250/1 and Scotland and Northern Ireland are at 5001/, so it puts Wales' achievements under Giggs into perspective.
Under Giggs, who has blooded in some promising youngsters, the Welsh are a far more attacking proposition. Perhaps unsurprisingly given his schooling under the great Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United - a manager who simply loved to attack sides and be ruthless in his approach - Giggs has provided Wales with a way of playing that perhaps isn't so reliant on star man Gareth Bale. Of course, the Real Madrid winger is a key player, but in a more fluent system that seems to enable freedom for the attacking players in the side, the team should, in theory, be creating chances with or without their talisman in the team.
Image source via https://twitter.com/jamesshield1
Fledgling attacking talents in the mould of David Brooks, Tyler Roberts and Tom Lawrence, the kind of talents who can be monitored with live sports streaming of lower league games, have certainly provided Giggs' Wales with another dimension and helped supplement the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Bale himself in attack.
Unfortunately for the Welsh though, there will be times when Giggs' more attack minded approach doesn't pay off, especially with a team containing a few youngsters. This certainly proved to the be the case against a tough to breakdown, experienced Danish side.
The defence is certainly an area that needs addressing heading into Euro 2020 also, with Giggs expected to tighten things up as the side continues its gradual growth. Odds of 1/8 (Sky Bet), which look a little low, suggests Wales are firmly expected to secure their place for the finals in 2020. Recent defeats have disrupted their momentum somewhat, but the future is still looking bright for a Wales team that have shown signs of evolution under Ryan Giggs.