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Euro 2016: Wales Preview, Predictions & Betting Odds

Wales European Championship Record

Did not qualify: 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012
Did not enter: 1960

Total: W0 D0 L0 0:0

Wales Euro 2016 Qualifying Record

W6 D3 L1 11:4

Wales Euro 2016 Group Fixtures

11th June @18:00 – Wales vs Slovakia (Stade Matmut Atlantique, Bordeaux)

16th June @15:00England vs Wales (Stade Bollaert, Lens)

20th June @21:00Russia vs Wales (Stade Municipal, Toulouse)

Road to Euro 2016

Buoyed by some promising showings in the closing stage of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, Wales enjoyed a strong start to the new qualifying campaign and their form did not drop until the very end of the Euro 2016 qualifiers. The Dragons proved extremely tough to beat, losing just one game and securing a second place finish and an automatic qualifying berth to ensure they would appear at their first ever European Championships.

It was a great team effort that was decisive in the end, but with seven goals to his name, Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale proved he had no problems with the added responsibility when playing for the national team. Boss Chris Coleman was forced to make numerous changes to his starting line-up due to injury problems, and he eventually also altered the preferred formation, with Wales switching to five at the back.

Style of Play

Chris Coleman arrived at the Wales helm in the worst possible time after the unfortunate death of Gary Speed, who had been a very popular figure with the players. Out of respect to his predecessor, the former Fulham manager opted against changing the style of play and introducing his own ideas, but eventually decided to stay true to himself after a series of disappointing results threatened to cost him his job.

Coleman decided to focus on counter-attacking football, realising that his players are not as technically skilled as some other sides, but do have quality and pace to hurt the teams on the break. The manager also stripped Aaron Ramsey of captaincy and handed the armband to Ashley Williams, which appears to have helped the Arsenal midfielder fully focus on his performance rather than worrying about extra duties.

At the same time, Real Madrid superstar was given license to roam, usually playing behind lone striker Hal Robson-Kanu, but wreaking havoc onto opposition defenders with his movement and ability. Even though his side looked good even with four at the back, Coleman eventually switched to 5-4-1 formation that has proved quite successful so far.

Having conceded mere four goals in the group that also contained two teams that had played at the 2014 World Cup finals, the Dragons proved they are very good at defending, and while they do struggle to create goalscoring opportunities when facing weaker sides, the team are very dangerous on the break, with Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale capable of both setting up their teammates in the final third and rounding off team moves.

The fact that only four players got on the scoresheet in the Euro 2016 qualifiers is enough to suggest that Wales have problems up front, and it is clear that a proven goalscorer would be more than welcome at the moment. The good news is that against both England and Russia, the Dragons will have a chance to sit back and wait for the opportunity to catch the opposition on the break, but they could struggle in their opening match against defence-minded Slovakia.

Strong Points

  • Very good defensive unit
  • The Gareth Bale effect
  • Dangerous on the break
  • New found confidence

Weak Spots

  • Missing a goalscoring striker
  • Problems in build up play vs defensive sides
  • Over-reliant on Bale and Ramsey
  • Lacking strength in depth

Wales Euro 2016 Starting Line-Up

Euro 2016: Wales Preview, Predictions & Betting Odds

Prediction

Wales impressed in the Euro 2016 qualifiers, but it is not as if they were playing in one of the toughest groups, and chances are they will face more serious tests at the tournament finals. The clash against England is bound to generate plenty of interest, but the Dragons will have to be at their best in all three games if they want to progress from what is a very difficult group with one high-profile team and two dark horses.

The problem is that Wales not only lack quality up front, but they are also without tournament experience, and that could prove to be a major issue in France. The Dragons will be heading to the Euro 2016 finals in good spirits, but we doubt they will be able to win any of the group games and, therefore, expect them to get eliminated before the knockout stages. The tournament will be a great learning experience for what is a talented generation, but this Wales side do not seem ready to reach the final stages of a major tournament just yet.

IST Tip: Wales to finish bottom in Group B
Odds: 3.25 (9/4) @Winner

Interesting Markets

*Wales to qualify is 1.67 (4/6) @Ladbrokes
*Bale to be team’s top goalscorer is 2.25 (5/4) @BetVictor
*Wales to be eliminated in group stage is 2.50 (3/2) @bet365
*Wales to win one point in group stage is 5.50 (9/2) @888sport

Special Offers

*Gareth Bale to be Wales top goalscorer is 7/1 (8.0)

Wales Euro 2016 Squad:

Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Daniel Ward (Liverpool), Owain Fon Williams (Inverness);

Defenders: Ashley Williams (Swansea), James Chester (West Brom), Ben Davies (Tottenham), James Collins (West Ham), Chris Gunter (Reading), Neil Taylor (Swansea), Ashley Richards (Fulham);

Midfielders: Joe Ledley (Crystal Palace), Joe Allen (Liverpool), David Vaughan (Nottingham Forest), Jonathan Williams (Crystal Palace), David Edwards (Wolves), George Williams (Fulham), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Andy King (Leicester);

Forwards: Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), David Cotterill (Birmingham), Hal Robson-Kanu (Reading), Simon Church (MK Dons), Sam Vokes (Burnley).

Last updated: 5th June 2016

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2 comments

  1. TheWelshDragon9

    Gunter will 10000% play ahead of Richards.

    • You definitely have a point there, we somehow overlooked Gunter. Thanks for that and we’ll make sure to replace Richards with Gunter shortly.

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