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Wales: The Ultimate Euro 2020 Preview

With memories of 2016 still fresh in their minds, Wales travel to Euro 2020 hoping for another memorable campaign.

The Dragons shocked the continent in an extraordinary run to the semi-finals in France, where they were knocked out by eventual champions Portugal.

With many key squad members now into their 30s, it looks unlikely Wales will be able to repeat their heroics of 2016 despite being drawn in a particularly open looking group.

Group A: TURKEY, Italy, Wales, Switzerland

Captain: Gareth Bale

Head Coach: Rob Page (interim while Ryan Giggs awaits trial)

FIFA Ranking: 17

Best Finish: Semi-Finals – 2016

Fixtures:

WALES v Switzerland – 12 June, 14:00 (BST). Olympic Stadium, Baju, Azerbaijan.

Turkey v WALES – 16 June, 17:00 (BST). Olympic Stadium, Baku, Azerbaijan.

Italy v WALES – 20 June, 17:00 (BST). Stadio Olympico, Rome, Italy

Qualification

Drawn in a tough group alongside Croatia, Slovakia, Hungary and Azerbaijan, Wales edged a winner-takes-all clash with Hungary in the final round of fixtures to seal second place and the final automatic qualification spot.

Consecutive losses against Croatia and Hungary left the Dragons staring into the abyss with three points from three games, but Ryan Giggs’ side regrouped went unbeaten for the remainder of the campaign.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Adam Davies (Stoke City), Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Danny Ward (Leicester City)

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

Midfielders: Joe Allen (Stoke City), David Brooks (Bournemouth), Rubin Colwill (Cardiff City), Daniel James (Manchester United), Dylan Levitt (Manchester United), Joe Morrell (Luton Town), Aaron Ramsey (Juventus), Matthew Smith (Manchester City), Jonny Williams (Cardiff City), Harry Wilson (Liverpool)

Forwards: Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Kieffer Moore (Cardiff City), Tyler Roberts (Leeds United)

Source: UEFA.com.

Danger Man – Gareth Bale

Wales, golf, Madrid.

Though he hasn’t scored for his country since 2019, Gareth Bale remains indisputably Wales’ most potent attacking threat and talisman.

The Dragons’ all-time top scorer with 33 goals, Wales fans will be hoping that a promising end to a disappointing season on loan at Spurs can kick start Bale’s summer and get him inspiring the nation once again.

Bale scored in all three of Wales’ group matches in 2016 and will need a similarly heroic feat to avoid an early exit this time round.

One to watch – Daniel James

Despite being a bit-part player for much of his time at Manchester United, winger Daniel James has shown he is at home on the international scene.

Linked with a move to Leicester, James will be hoping to impress Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and potential suitors in equal measure with eye-catching displays on the international stage. A near-certain starter, don’t be surprised to see Daniel James rampaging down the wing and causing defenders problems all day.

Premier League Representation

Unsurprisingly, Wales’ squad is full of Premier League and English-based talent.

Neco Williams, Ben Davies, Joe Rodon, Tyler Roberts, Gareth Bale, Ethan Ampadu and Daniel James all featured in the Premier League in 2020/21, while Matt Smith, Dylan Levitt and Rhys Norrington-Davies were on loan away from Premier League clubs.

Keepers Wayne Hennessey and Danny Ward are both with Premier League clubs (Crystal Palace and Leicester City), but neither made an appearance this season.

Route to the Final

  1. If Wales top the group, they will play the team who finishes second in Group C (Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, North Macedonia)
  2. If Wales finish second, they will face the team who finish second in Group B (Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia)
  3. If they finish as one of the four best third-place teams, they will play the winner of either Group B, E or F.

After the second round, the draw will depend on which third-place teams qualified for the knockout stages.

Stats

  • Gareth Bale (92) will move to outright third in Wales’ list of all-time appearance makers – ahead of Neville Southall – if he appears in any match at Euro 2020.
  • Four out of the five teams in Wales’ qualifying group qualified for Euro 2020 (Croatia, Wales, Slovakia and Hungary).
  • No player scored more than two goals for Wales during qualifying.
  • Wales have won seven out of the 22 meetings with their Group A opponents.

Sam Hanys

A miserable Ipswich Town fan.

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Premier League Table

# Team MP W D L P
1 Chelsea 5 4 1 0 13
2 Liverpool 5 4 1 0 13
3 Manchester United 5 4 1 0 13
4 Brighton & Hov… 5 4 0 1 12
5 Manchester City 5 3 1 1 10
6 Everton 5 3 1 1 10
7 Tottenham Hotspur 5 3 0 2 9
8 West Ham United 5 2 2 1 8
9 Brentford 5 2 2 1 8
10 Aston Villa 5 2 1 2 7
11 Watford 5 2 0 3 6
12 Leicester City 5 2 0 3 6
13 Arsenal 5 2 0 3 6
14 Crystal Palace 5 1 2 2 5
15 Southampton 5 0 4 1 4
16 Wolverhampton Wanderers 5 1 0 4 3
17 Leeds United 5 0 3 2 3
18 Newcastle United 5 0 2 3 2
19 Burnley 5 0 1 4 1
20 Norwich City 5 0 0 5 0

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