Wales defied the odds to reach the knockout stage for the second EURO in succession, comfortably beating pre-tournament dark horses Turkey and showing tremendous resolve with ten men against Italy. Alas, Denmark proved a step too far for Rob Page’s team in the last 16.
What were the positives?
Page’s squad featured only eight members of the side that defied all expectations to reach the EURO 2016 semi-finals, but they displayed many of the qualities which underpinned that remarkable run. Danny Ward, Joe Rodon and Kieffer Moore all enjoyed excellent tournaments, while Page’s stock has also risen considerably.
It has to be the win against Turkey. So much was made of the partisan atmosphere in the build-up to the game, but Wales were magnificent. The image of Connor Roberts sliding on his knees and kissing the dragon on his shirt in front of the TV cameras will stay with me forever.
What the future holds
While Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey are coming towards the end of their international careers, the Welsh squad boasts a number of talented youngsters capable of playing a major role at future tournaments. In the short term, Wales’s attentions must turn to qualifying for a first FIFA World Cup since 1958.
Predictions for the rest of EURO 2020
I predicted an Italy vs France final at the beginning of the tournament, with Didier Deschamps’ side emerging victorious. The duo can no longer face each other in the showpiece at Wembley on 11 July, but I’m still backing Les Bleus to go all the way!