When Nani slid across Ronaldo’s shot to give an assist against his name and bringing life to worst Welsh fears to life, he put to an end to what has been an incredible journey, one which is slightly bettered by the Iceland team. 1958, the last time when the Welsh fans last tasted the experience of a major tournament, eventually being swatted aside by the legendary Brazilian no 10 Pele. Wales bow out, but the legend will live on. Nobody from the squad, not even their coach, Chris Coleman was born then. But the achievement of Euro 2016, one can suspect will outlive the one in 1958.
Wales bow out, but the legend will live on
From 117th position in FIFA rankings to the march to Euro 2016 semi-final
When Chris Coleman took charge, the Wales were ranked even beneath Iraq, the semifinal defeat to Portugal are a triumph to the hard work, togetherness and a result of discarding of egos by star players of the Wales team. Not so long ago, they were the whipping boys of the European heavyweights. The fixtures where they faced against the big teams were looked upon as friendlies. Not that it lacked truth. However, their steady progress has ensured them to get to this point. After missing out on World cup qualification, Gareth Bale had confined in his former Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti that if Wales did manage to qualify for the Euros 2016, they would go all the way. Though the Dragons may have been slayed by Ronaldo and Co, their progress has given the supporters ample hope to look forward to their upcoming clashes. A world Cup qualification will not be treated as surprise. That’s the belief that has been instilled by this campaign. Beating the likes of Belgium, one which has an array of superstars has certainly been the icing on the cake for this British nation. Where the Rode Duivels is had no shortage of individual talent, the selflessness from the likes of Bale, Captain Ashley Williams and Aaron Ramsey set an example for the other teams and conquered their mighty Quarterfinal opponents.
The Semi final run a glimpse of the future
While there are bound to be speculations regarding the future of the head coach Chris Coleman, he is almost likely to stay put. The likes of Ashley Williams, Joe Allen, Joe Ledley among others ply their trades in the Premier league and hence are likely to continue the upwards trajectory that they have set their national team on. With the likes of Hal Robson-Kanu being chased by a host of premier league clubs, the collective quality of the squad is bound to get stronger. What is required is to keep an eye out for the young legs. To inject some fresh faces into the squad must be on the mind of Coleman, even if the young legs maybe plying their trades in the lower tiers of English football, some may come good as Robson-Kanu’s performance suggested.
The sound of the song “Don’t take me home” sung by their fans may have died down, the journey has just begun for the Red Dragons. One which promises to last longer than the one which was ended by Pele in 1958. Chris Coleman has also stated that he will be going nowhere until the 2018 World cup where Wales would even come stronger. The Wales also has created a rich legacy of players that are will become the next big thing in the Welsh football and who knows that they are able to emulate the talents of Ryan gigs and Gareth Bale to make Wales a potent force on the international football scene.