Can Wales challenge in the European Championship next summer?
Wales have been one of the surprise teams in the 2016 European Championship qualifying campaign and Chris Coleman’s side have secured progression to the finals for the first time since 1958. Led by Real Madrid star Gareth Bale, Wales guaranteed their place in next summer’s competition with a 3-0 victory at home against Andorra. Throughout the qualifying campaign, they have been outstanding – beating the likes of Belgium and Israel throughout the ten-match run. They lost just once against Bosnia-Herzegovina in their excellent run and will deservedly get the opportunity to perform on the world stage in France next summer.
Although it will be difficult, Wales could continue their form into next summer’s competition and may reach the knockout stages of the tournament if they perform at their very best. Despite climbing up to eighth in the FIFA world rankings, Coleman’s men will be ranked in the fourth and final pot of teams due to their lack of history in European competition. While they will be forced to play the likes of Spain, Germany or hosts France, they will be one of the most dangerous teams in the bottom pool and will fancy their chances of success in the competition.
The key will be keeping the likes of Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Ashley Williams fit and in form. These three players are central to Wales’ formation and success and, although they have a number of other talented players, it is crucial that these stars perform at their optimum level. Bale is one of the best players in the world but Wales cannot rely too heavily on him otherwise they will become predictable and easy to defend against. It would be foolish for Coleman to adopt and change their tactics completely, but they could tweak them slightly in order to exploit opposing sides and lure them into a false sense of security.
Welsh fans are relishing the opportunity to take on some of the top nations in world football and tens of thousands of supporters will travel across the Channel to follow and cheer on their team. Nearer to the time, you will be able to place a bet on Wales in the international football betting markets for the European Championship. While they may not go on to win the competition, they are a dangerous side and could be one of the surprise packages in the tournament. They will certainly be one of the best-supported nations throughout next summer’s competition and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if they shock the continent.
In the meantime, Wales will be enjoying the moment and will look to avoid picking up serious injury problems throughout the remainder of the season. Bale’s fitness will obviously be essential for their chances but their other top players will also contribute throughout the tournament. Their efforts have often been overlooked by rival nations throughout the qualifying campaign but it could be argued that they may be the ones to keep an eye on in next summer’s tournament. It will take a minor miracle for Wales to win the competition but they may go on to win a number of matches and could even progress further than England if they play to their full potential.