Wales Euro 2020: Team News, Odds & Predictions
Having reached the semi-finals at Euro 2016, Wales will be hoping to make an impact this summer too. Gareth Bale & Co have been drawn alongside Italy, Turkey and Switzerland in Group A. Having lost manager Ryan Giggs shortly ahead of Euro 2020 due to ongoing legal issues, it could be that the young dragons face an uphill battle in reaching the knockout stage. Ahead of their opening match against the Swiss, we take a closer look at the Welsh team. This includes key players, strengths and weaknesses and our predictions.
Up until 2016, Wales had very little to shout about at the highest level. Having failed to qualify for the World Cup since back in 1958, Wales qualified for Euro 2016. Making their debut in the competition, Wales made light of their underdog tag, reaching the semi-finals. Wales knocked out Northern Ireland and Belgium along the way, before coming unstuck against eventual winners Portugal. However, with little other tournament experience, perhaps little should be read into the Welsh footballing history.
How Wales Qualified for Euro 2020
Despite only winning four of their eight qualifying matches, Wales made it to the Euro 2020 Finals after finishing as runner-up in Group E. Drawn alongside Croatia, Slovakia, Hungary and Azerbaijan, Wales scored just 10 goals during their qualifying campaign, however they conceded just 6 times in the process. A 2-0 home win over Hungary in November 2019 secured their qualification, a match in which Aaron Ramsey scored a double. Wales’ only two defeats came away in Croatia and Hungary. Bale finished as Wales’ top scorer during qualifying, with the former Champions League final goalscorer having found the back of the net just twice.
Wales in Group A
Wales find themselves alongside Italy, Turkey and Switzerland in Group A. Kicking off their campaign on the second day of the tournament against Switzerland, Wales will start in Baku, before moving West to Rome. Wales are undoubtedly outsiders to qualify from Group A, with the Dragons likely to need something from their final match against Italy. The following is how Wales’ Group A fixtures are set:
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Wales Euro 2020: Odds & Predictions
Understandably, major online bookmakers have installed Wales as rank outsiders to win Euro 2020. Having made their European Championship debut in France five years ago, Wales are still an emerging nation in the region. Ahead of a ball being kicked this summer, the following odds are available on Wales at leading betting sites:
While betting on Wales to win Euro 2020 outright is unlikely to attract a significant amount of wagers, there are a host of appealing markets surrounding the team. Firstly, Wales are 23/20 with the likes of 888Sport and Betfair to claim all three points against Switzerland. Elsewhere, Gareth Bale is 66/1 with William Hill to win the Golden Boot award this summer. Finally, winger Rabbi Matondo is 33/1 with BetVictor to win the young player of the tournament award.
Former Manchester United great Ryan Giggs remains as Wales Head Coach, however the 47-year-old will not be in charge at Euro 2020. Robert Page has taken up a caretaker role, with the former Wales Under 21 boss having little experience at the highest level. Page managed Port Vale and Northampton Town in the English lower leagues, before joining the national team setup in 2017. Page faces a tricky task in coming up against the experience of Roberto Mancini, Vladimir Petković and Şenol Güneş.
Despite having not had the impact while on-loan at former club Tottenham Hotspur this season, Gareth Bale remains the star man for Wales. The powerful attacker has the ability to score from all angles, with his pace also being a major asset. Elsewhere, former Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey is another player to look out for. The Juventus man has an eye for goal and is also a much needed source of creativity for Wales. Youngsters Tyler Roberts, David Brooks and Joe Rodon will be hoping to feature, while Chris Gunter, Hal Robson-Kanu and Wayne Hennessey provide excellent experience, having all featured heavily at Euro 2016.
Wales’ Strengths & Weaknesses
The fact that Wales have kept a clean sheet in 8 of their last 10 matches demonstrates where their strengths lie. Despite not having any world class players in this area, the Welsh backline clearly knows how to play alongside one another. Tottenham’s Rodon has made the step up from the Championship to the Premier League this season, while Bournemouths’ Chris Mepham is another solid defender.
Wales also have the ability to quickly hit teams on the counter attack. Manchester United’s Daniel James will be one of the fastest players at Euro 2020. Alongside Bale, don’t be surprised if Wales look to break quickly against their opponents when they win the ball. However, while Bale has 30+ international goals to his name, the Welsh squad is certainly lacking a recognised goalscorer. As a result, it is likely that winger Harry Wilson will make up a fluid front three for the Dragons.
Our Prediction for Wales at Euro 2020
Despite their heroics at Euro 2016, it is looking like being a much tougher assignment for Wales this time around. The Dragons will need a positive result against Switzerland in their opening match if they are to have any hope of progressing to the Round of 16. Wales have the weakest squad out of the teams in Group A, however they have demonstrated in the past that their passion can be a significant factor. Our prediction for Wales at Euro 2020 is for the team to fail to qualify from Group A. This market is available at odds of 5/6 at Bet365.
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