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      What lies ahead after Wales fails to impress at Euro 2020

    As much as the 2020 Wales euro squad was better than the 2016 team, their failure to progress beyond the last 16 stage was disappointing. Could they have done any better?

    You have to look at the statistics of that team progressing to the Euros.

    A more talented and balanced team

    It’s undeniable that the euro 2020 squad had many talents. According to Ashley Williams, this team was better than the euro 2016 team that reached the semi-finals.  

    This is mostly because the team has been around for a shorter time and has more strength and commitment in them. Coming up with the team was a headache for the coaches.

    So why did they disappoint at the euro 2020 tournament?

    Perhaps football has become very competitive than it was five years ago. It’s true that under-appreciated teams played exceptionally well and big-name teams found it hard to put more goals past them. Teams like Hungary, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, and Wales were not pushovers.  

    But still, much was expected. Why? Probably, it's because after reaching the semi-finals in the last euro edition, Wales fans expected a first finals appearance. This was far- a faint-hearted idea just like the odds of winning the lottery to the World Cup. In simple terms, was going to be difficult to accomplish.

    The squad was great and the players gave their best in all those games, that is beyond dispute. It could be the difference in strategies or down to luck.  Despite the loss, Wales still have something to be proud of, the fact that they are becoming a force in European football.  

    While the next edition will surely miss players like Gareth Bale who gave his all. It’s good to state that the next generation of players will do well to emulate his persistence and perseverance.  

    Wales lacked ruthlessness

    Great teams are defined by their ruthlessness in-front of goal and their ability to control the game. Wales could control the game, and put up a stellar performance, but they lacked the ability to convert their numerous opportunities to goals.  

    Ultimately, this is what punished them most in the end. They could have been more clinical in their finish ad would have bested their semi-finals appearance in the euro 2016.

    As a football team, always expect to play on unfriendly grounds where fans can be against you. Despite hot having fans in that last 16 game against Denmark, they still could have done better and ultimately progressed.  

    Gareth Bale’s stunning national team performance

    He is one of the most lethal attackers and his speed and ball control has seen key in his rise to prominence. At his age and doubts concerning his level of fitness, he still managed to stun football fans.  

    For example, the inspiring assist for Aron Ramsey goal against Turkey was classic. After drawing with Switzerland 1-1, they were expecting to face a strong Italy team.  

    After starting the match strongly and holding off the Italians, decision making was their wrongdoing.  

    Failure to utilize their golden opportunities proved to be their undoing as they settled for the 1-1 draw against Switzerland.  

    The group stage performance was impressive and go could have taken the Welsh team far if they had maintained it in the last 16 knock-out stage.  

    Wales meltdown against Denmark

    Wales fell 4-0 to Denmark to go out in the last 16. However, Denmark had an exhilarating performance.

    Initially, Wales started strongly but soon faded badly after Denmark scored the first goal. Sent off of Harry Wilson made matters worse and downed their morale and ability to dominate.

    The dominant display by Denmark afterwards and bound by the partisan crowd was too much. Considering that Welsh fans were not allowed to travel to the Dutch capital, things weren’t looking good.  

    Denmark broke Welsh hearts

    The Wales national team was outnumbered in the last 16 euro game, both in the pitch and the stands. Early in the game, Daniel James, Aaron Ramsey, and Gareth Bale gave Denmark problems.  

    However, the dangerous combination of Dolberg and Mikkel Damsgaard produced the opening goal and the second which rocked the Welsh defense. Soon, their shaky defense started leaving large gaps that Denmark exploited well to score two more goals and seal the win.

    It was the marshaled performance and the dazzling home crowd that helped Denmark reach the quarter-finals. Wales were outclassed by their opponents.

    Hope for the future

    Although the Welsh performance was both inspiring and bad towards the end, they have proved that they have the talent and ability to make a comeback.  

    The future is good and Welsh fans can expect to do better in the next euro editions. They can work on their finishing and be more ruthless in their attack. The defense can take some pride in their performance in previous games.  

    There is a lot of room for improvement and Wales have shown the world that winning is possible if you try hard enough. The great young talents are proof that Wales may yet surprise the football world someday

    [ photos embedded from FAW cymru ]

    Posted: Tuesday 17th August 2021
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