Something magical happened two years ago that would change the complexion of Welsh football forever. Led by the world-class Gareth Bale, Wales reached the semi-finals of the 2016 European Championships. Chris Coleman’s men had the full support of an ardent band of followers out in France whilst the rest of the country got behind the boys at home. It felt like Wales were on the verge of something special.
The failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup stung Wales fans for a while – most expected Coleman’s men to reach football’s biggest international tournament for the first time since 1958. Sadly, it wasn’t to be for Wales and fans will have to watch events this summer from the comfort of their own homes.
But it has been all change in recent months and new head coach Ryan Giggs is already targeting qualification for Euro 2020. Without a doubt, Wales have the talent to qualify for a second European Championships in a row and Giggs will be keeping a close eye on the members of his squad this summer.
With the UEFA Nations League starting at the beginning of next season, Wales will be looking to send out a reminder that they can compete at the top level. Those fixtures against Denmark and the Republic of Ireland should show whether Giggs is up to the task of leading Wales back to a major tournament...
The qualification campaign for Euro 2020 will begin in March and Giggs will have gained an immense wealth of experience by then. Wales have toyed with the idea of playing in front of an increased crowd at the Principality Stadium but keeping the majority of fixtures at the Cardiff City Stadium is preferred. The more intimate, intense atmosphere can help Wales to emulate that famous qualifying run ahead of the 2016 edition.
Keeping Gareth Bale happy is key to Wales’ chances of success – the Real Madrid man is at the heart of their attacking play. Giggs will have his own thoughts on Bale’s most effective position but Coleman regularly used him in the ‘number 10’ role; Bale appeared to relish a more central spot in the side.
Building around Bale is an absolute must; Aaron Ramsey and the supporting cast can help to create chances in the final third. Beating Denmark and Ireland at the end of 2018 will give Wales a confidence boost ahead of the upcoming qualifying campaign.
Denmark will compete at this summer’s World Cup and Giggs will be carefully assessing their style of play ahead of the UEFA Nations League. As of June 14th, the Danes are 50/1 to win this summer’s competition in the latest World Cup 2018 odds and Wales supporters could be confident of victory if Denmark fall short this summer.
Giggs is going to put his own stamp on proceedings and he will be demanding a significant improvement on recent efforts. Wales have the quality and the charisma to reach Euro 2020 but can their new head coach lead Cymru to the finals? Write them off at your peril.