Although it may seem like a dream for many Welsh fans, the Wales national football team are in with a great chance of Euro 2016 victory.
Last Friday, Wales defeated a strongly-tipped Belguim side 3-1 to reach the semi-final stage. Along the way, they have also defeated Slovakia, Russia and Northern Ireland – an outstanding achievement from a country populated with just 3.2 million people and an even bigger achievement considering they’re just a ‘one man team’ as stated by so many couch pundits on social media throughout the group stages.
Wales left back Neil Taylor believes their performances so far have proven that “(they) are about the team – the subs that came on did really well too”. They are, definitely, more than just a one-man outfit.
Earlier this week Wales attacker Sam Vokes was quoted as saying: “To be looking at a semi-final against Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal at Euro 2016 is a great feeling”.
However, Euro 2016 has, undoubtedly, shown a very mediocre Ronaldo – his national team performances just a shadow of the class and quality he constantly shows with club team Real Madrid. Wales now move into the Euro 2016 semi-finals having no fear of an average Ronaldo and with minimum fear of losing to him and his team mates.
They have no fear of losing because they are already winners. For this Wales team to go as far as they have is an overwhelming achievement. They have ‘dwarfed‘ every other achievement in their record books and their players have already been labelled as ‘heroes’.
Before this, Wales had not even qualified for a major tournament since 1958, now they are in the Euro 2016 last four. They have the belief that they can progress and win it out too – if you want to witness this belief and positivity for your own eyes, then just click onto Gareth Bale’s Twitter account.
— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) July 2, 2016
Another element that makes one think Wales have an unbelievable chance of Euro 2016 victory is down to their desire and hunger they show. In comparison to other countries in this competition, they seem to be showing a lot more desire to win.
They are attacking, they throw tackles, they go for every ball 100%, they’re skilled, they’re scoring goals, and they’re not afraid to lead. It’s a pleasure to watch them. Hal Robson-Kanu’s turn against Belgium to set himself up for the second goal showcased their skill levels on a larger scale, while Ashley William’s dominance in defence and ariel presence up front for corners and set-pieces would put fear into any opponents.
The Wales team are on a string of great performances. They are bursting with pride and momentum at the moment so nothing is impossible for this side right now. They genuinely believe they can win this tournament out, and they have every right too. The overhead presence in heaven of former Welsh manager, Gary Speed, is guiding them further, every step of the way.
In the last four, they will play a very mediocre side in Portugal. A more ‘one-man team’ than any in this tournament, but one big difference is that their ‘one man’ is not performing. Portugal, in turn, are only scraping through games. The fact the country has even reached the semi-finals with how they’ve played throughout the tournament is an achievement in itself.
One factor that must be considered though is the loss of Aaron Ramsey – the man of the match in the previous game will miss the Portugal match due to suspension and the accumulation of yellow cards in the tournament. A huge loss, but just another obstacle that this Wales team will overcome.
A win against Portugal will set up the biggest game in Welsh football history in the form of a final against either Iceland / France or Germany. Imagine a Wales v Iceland final? Now that would be beautiful. Wales go into the game against Portugal as 3/1 outsiders in most bookies. However, they are getting used to beating such odds…
Jason Redmond, Pundit Arena