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Why your team will suck at the Euro 2020: Wales and the summer of their lives; part two

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Wales have been placed in Group A

Sportscafe

Why your team will suck at the Euro 2020: Wales and the summer of their lives; part two

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Siddhant Lazar

06/11/2021

The Euro 2016 was the first time in 58 years that the Welsh had shown their faces at a major international competition and they stunned a few people. Call that beginners luck or whatever but with their best superstars spending most of their time since then injured, here’s why Wales will suck.

Your team: Wales (Euro record: DNQ thirteen times, qualified once and finished third)

Record since Euro 2016: 19 wins, 10 draws, 14 losses

How harsh can you really be when it comes to Wales? I mean the story practically writes itself and yet, this is a “why your team will suck” article, so thus we must be harsh. And the easiest way to do that is just to say, take a long hard look at that loss column. 14 losses in 43 international games since that absolutely magical Euro 2016 run is just so very very awesome and it makes sense why they missed out on a major tournament for 58 years. Cause they suck.

I’m shocked they haven’t managed to lose more games when you consider just who they’ve got on their side and who their manager happens to be. Sorry, the interim manager now what with…., yeah that’s a whole other story and I’ll take away an entire point by saying that. But after missing on the 2018 World Cup, they’ve somehow managed to make Euro 2020 with 14 losses. How? We have no clue and that’s what we’re here to figure out because it is very bamboozling.

Especially when Wales lose to not just the big guns like France, Belgium, England and the rest but when they lose to Hungary, the Republic of Ireland or when they barely beat both Trinidad and Belarus. It’s kinda shocking but when you are Wales what more can you expect? I mean the Euro 2016 was the only one they ever qualified for in the history of the Euros until the 2020 edition. And it was only their second tournament ever with the 1958 World Cup the other one, which means their fans spent 58 years waiting.

They waited 58 long years just to see their side in an international tournament and yet people complain when their side finishes their first season, after five consecutive ones, without a trophy. It’s kinda sad and pathetic and makes you think just how badly some fans want to support a team that they’d go 58 years without a major competition and still continue. Like move on people, find another international team to support, pick one out of a hat and don’t make such a big deal out of things.

The man leading the charge: Ryan Giggs and Robert Page (interim boss)

Now, this is a little serious because Ryan Giggs was arrested in November 2020 for allegedly assaulting two women, charges which he has denied. That is not something one jokes about with no matter the numerous options and chances one gets, especially in an article that is dedicated to something like that, and that means this part will be empty-ish. Because beyond that stupid and utterly nonsensical move, had Giggs been their actual coach for the tourney, then this would be praise Giggs section.

Because he has actually done well with the Welsh side has been very impressive, given the squad and the teams that they have faced and the same goes for Page. Actually, the same especially goes for Page because in the eight games he has been the interim boss, Wales have won half and lost just two (one to France and one to Belgium) although draws against Albania and the USA are concerning.

Even then, for an interim boss to do that is impressive but when senior players have nothing but good things to say, then it’s even better. Yet, given that this is Wales and that Chris Coleman is out of a job at the moment, wouldn’t it have been better to just take the nostalgic trip all the way to the end again? I mean if you’re going to appoint an interim boss at least get that correct, right? Instead of Robert Page, the lead guitarist for Led Zepplin or was that Jimmy Page?? Either way, you get the point.

The superstars:

Gareth Bale: Sure he treated Tottenham like his very own training ground, and sure he actually did well while on loan at Tottenham and sure, Bale somehow managed to score the second-most goals by a Real Madrid player this season. But then, so what? This is a knockout tournament and as far as we’re concerned, the world hasn’t seen enough of what Gareth Bale can’t do and doesn’t have.

Five years ago was before he missed 350 days worth of football/action/training/doing anything because of injuries. And for a man whose entire game is based a lot around the fact that his body is performing at the peak of its powers, that is a bazooka to the chest. Bale’s 31 now, and if the training spell in North London proved absolutely anything, it’s that he doesn’t have it anymore. Does he have the movement, the clinicality and maybe even a brain to figure out how to improve? 

Sure he does, he’s a footballer trained to improvise but is he, Gareth Bale? Absolutely not, with rumours suggesting that he is set to retire after Euros to focus more on his career. Not in football but rather in golf, cause "Golf, Money and Wales," in that order, please!

Aaron Ramsey: Once upon a time, Aaron Ramsey was a young super-starlet from Cardiff City who could have hit things big. Then a big centre-back broke his leg, he turned into something half-decent who shone for Arsenal and then left for Juventus. Now the move has earned the Welsh midfielder a couple of million a month over the last two years but he has done a grand total of nothing.

Instead, Ramsey has spent half his time injured, the other half being shuffled around and the remainder playing behind Adrien Rabiot, Rodrigo Bentancur and Weston McKennie. Yet, the real kicker has been the fact that Ramsey hasn’t featured for the Welsh national side since November 2019 and he most definitely hasn’t been the same since the 2016 tournament. Now that Ramsey was a god, this one, ummm not sure? 

What’s new that sucks:

The fact that nobody has realised that this may have been their best squad ever and yet, nobody even seems to care. That doesn’t suck for me but it sucks for you fans because think about, Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Hal Robson Kanu, Ashley Williams, Ben Davies, Joe Allen and everyone else. It may not be their greatest ever generation, which says quite a bit, but when you’ve got a collection of stars that are this good and yet can’t win anything, it begs the question; will they ever? Or will Wales forever be in England, Scotland and even the Republic of Ireland’s shadow? That’s an obvious answer for many and yet, the hope and dreams that this side produced have all come to nothing even if Gareth Bale does go down as one of the greatest ever. 

What’s old that sucks:

A few players but what is old is the fact that this squad is far younger. Only eight players who made the cut for the 2016 tournament have made this squad and the conundrum is not just one problem for Robert Page but many. And yet, the biggest is the fact that this is an in-experienced squad which could very well be the biggest hurdle. 

The greater depth will definitely help but the fact that Dan James, David Brooks, Tyler Roberts, Chris Mepham, Joe Rodon, Ethan Amapdu and a few others are very young. How young? Well, they’re barely out of their twenties which will most definitely break a few of them. Harsh but true and that there is the survival of the fittest, which is kinda what knockout football is. Or tournament football or essentially any kind of football. 

What might give you some hope:

Honestly, there is very little that could give any fan hope after the miraculous and the summer of your lives that Euro 2016 provided you with. Only winning the whole damnn thing could give you any hope and joy at that level which means you’ve got to settle for the next thing. The fact that while your next generation – beyond Bale and Ramsey – aren’t Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, they’re not exactly the worst possible replacements one could get. Harry Wilson has potential, David Brooks is a goddamn gem and Dan James is a bright spark that needs to be nurtured and there are a few more.

It’s a team people and it’s high time everyone realises that but also, under the right coach this young side has enough within themselves to do well. Not achieve greatness, or even win a Euro or something but enough to do well for themselves.

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