August 5, 2021

Wales pursues its daydream

Wales never ceases to surprise. After the sensation of 2016, it’s time for confirmation. During the last edition organized in France, the Dragons and their unconditional support audience were only eliminated in the semi-final against the future winner of the competition, Portugal. A nice run for the first Euro in the history of the Dragons and sublimated in particular by a prestigious victory against Belgium in the quarterfinals (3-1). For this Euro 2020, Wales was once again not announced among the favorites of its group. And yet, Robert Page’s men continue to play spoilers.

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Positioned in group A alongside Switzerland, Turkey and Italy, Cymru (Wales in Welsh) finished 2nd behind Squadra Azzura, validating their ticket for the knockout stages, where this nation represented a people of just over 3 million inhabitants will face Denmark this Saturday in Amsterdam (6 p.m., to be followed live with commentary on FM). For this, the Dragons were able to rely on a remarkable collective solidity added to a conquering state of mind and a flawless fighting spirit. After a shy and disappointing first match against Nati (1-1), Wales showed a whole different face to beat the Turks in Baku (2-0), before limiting the damage against an impressive Italy ( 0-1). All after a little reassuring preparation (1 defeat, 1 draw).

Ramsey-Bale, the winning duo

If the Welsh are in the semi-finals, the captains of this team are no strangers, starting with Aaron Ramsey (30) and captain Gareth Bale (31), the two real stars. Like the whole collective, the Juventus midfielder (scorer) and Real Madrid striker (double passer) woke up against Turkey. After a mixed first match and some criticism at home following the draw against Switzerland, these two experienced men took their responsibilities to make a difference at the best of times. The former Arsenal player has shown himself as hyperactive and available as in his best years with the Gunners while the golf lover loaned to Tottenham last season has made his speed and technical quality speak for itself. Note that the experienced Joe Allen (31) is also present in the midfield (3 starts).

Kieffer Moore surprise causes a sensation

But Wales isn’t just these two players. Rob Page also pulled out of his hat the robust Kieffer Moore (28 years old, 1.95m), also decisive in the qualification of his country. The Cardiff City center-forward is riding on his good season in the Championship (20 goals and 2 assists in 42 games) and convinced his coach to align him during the first two days of this Euro 2020. He is the one who scored the important equalizer goal against the Nati after having already obtained the only real opportunity for his team in the first period.

Its atypical profile à la Olivier Giroud offers new playing possibilities to this nation used to evolving in a fairly low block and to hurt in the counterattack. If he did not score against Turkey, he weighed heavily on the defense and tired the bodies. “He impresses me every time he wears the Wales jersey”, recently released Robert Page about his center forward. Difficult to find more accurate words.

Ben Davies is coming back

Behind, the Welsh defenders can count on the return to form of Ben Davies (28). The Tottenham player, initially announced uncertain for the Euro, was able to make his comeback against the France team on June 2 (0-3) when he had not played since March 21 due to a shin injury. After regaining a starting place against Albania three days later. Enough to be ready for the Euro, where he played all of Wales’ first two games in his left lane. He was reassuring defensively and present offensively, while bringing his experience to a group in need.

Danny Ward, the Iron Gloves

And then how not to mention the excellent form of Danny Ward, the goalkeeper of this Welsh selection? While it was legitimate to ask a few questions before the start of the competition, as the substitute goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel at Leicester lacks a benchmark at the highest level. But the former Liverpool doorman or Huddersfield holds the Dragons house wonderfully. With his 91 meter, Danny Ward (28) made the saves it took to keep his team alive. The one who took the place of the experienced Wayne Hennessey (34) in the goals of Wales was even elected man of the match by our editorial staff against Switzerland. For this very important draw in the Welsh qualification, Rob Page can thank Kieffer Moore as much as his strong goalkeeper.

Faced with a team from Denmark which has come a long way in this Euro 2020, Wales will once again approach this round of 16 in the skin of a challenger. Before Euro 2020, Robert Page confided that he was “Exciting enough to try to make the story”. This is precisely what the Dragons will try to do once again against the partners of Christian Eriksen. If the Danish Dynamite is certainly a bigger fish than Northern Ireland in 2016, Wales, in a relaxed atmosphere, could well be a sensation again and be one of the hits of the summer by thrilling its people. and Europe.