British Isles at Euro 2016 report: Wales
Lee Gormley | July 12, 2016
Wales Euro 2016 review
Following the conclusion of a fascinating Euro 2016 this summer, in which Portugal emerged as first-time victors in France, Coral are reviewing each of the British Isles nations’ performances across the Channel.
Next, we look at Chris Coleman’s Wales, so read on to see who starred and flopped for the Dragons this summer…
Stage of elimination: semi-final
Wales were the last Home Nation standing on French soil as they managed to go all the way to the semi-final stage, where Coleman’s brave Dragons were tamed by eventual champions Portugal in a 2-0 defeat, thanks to goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani.
How they exited and why
Wales set up a semi-final clash with Portugal after downing both Northern Ireland and Belgium in the last 16 and quarters, having topped their group ahead of England, impressing along the way with their great team spirit and work ethic.
The pick of their results was the 3-1 triumph over Belgium, but a Ronaldo-inspired Portugal ultimately got the better of them in a tough semi match-up, though they went home with heads held high.
Star player: Gareth Bale
Real Madrid star Gareth Bale was one of the leading contenders for player of the tournament after his sublime displays helped his country reach the semis, as he struck three times, including goals against all their group opponents Slovakia, England and Russia.
Those goals included two superb free-kicks from long-range as in-form Bale proved his worth as the world’s most expensive player, showcasing both his incredible talents and national passion during an impressive campaign overall.
Biggest revelation: Hal Robson-Kanu
Hal Robson-Kanu entered proceedings in France as a free agent, having been released by Reading on the eve of the tournament, but he will have no shortage of suitors this summer following heroics displays for his nation.
The 27-year-old netted one of the goals of the tournament against Belgium, turning the Red Devils backline inside out with a well-executed Cruyff turn and clinical finish, adding to his opening game winner over Slovakia in what was a personally uplifting summer.
Flop: James Collins
From a nation that performed gallantly throughout their run to the semi-finals, it’s hard to pick anyone out as a flop, but centre back James Collins only started one game and the Dragons lost it.
That was of course the semi-final defeat to Portugal, with the towering defender having been run ragged by an in-form Ronaldo and was lucky not to concede a penalty for bringing down the Real Madrid ace too.
Managerial performance: Chris Coleman
Coleman’s efforts in guiding Wales to the France finals were superb, but to go on a reach the sems was a testament to the belief he has instilled into this group of players.
The 46-year-old Swansea-born coach brought the best out of previously under-performing fringe players and oversaw the rampant displays from both star men Bale and Aaron Ramsey, and Coleman is 2/1 with Coral to help Wales secure top spot in 2018 World Cup qualifying Group D.
Final grade: A
Overall, the Welsh fans were treated to a mesmerising Euro 2016, one which they will never forget, thanks to sublime showings from a closely-knitted squad and manager.
The future looks bright for the Dragons after such a successful summer, and the nation will now be expecting similar performances in their bid to reach Russia in two years’ time, but Wales have proved they can mix it up with the bug guns of international football.