Manager Chris Coleman may have taken over in difficult circumstances in 2011, but has galvanised a crop of under-performing Welsh nationals into an organised, steely outfit. They qualified fairly comfortably, albeit in an easier group and took heavyweights Belgium right to the wire, finishing in 2nd place, just two points off the top. A terrific run of results saw them suffer defeat just once on the road as they prevailed to put years of hurt behind them.
Wales aren’t blessed with a platoon of world-beating talent but the key to their surprising success has been more through teamwork and unity, as well as the odd Gareth Bale goal! The enigmatic winger a pivotal part of their plans, as he enters the form of his life for club side Real Madrid, having a hand in 10 of Wales’ 11 goals, no doubt breathing fresh optimism into Welsh hearts. The only worry on Welsh minds will be where the goals will come from, if the unthinkable was to happen and Bale sustains injury, a lack of squad depth going forward won’t do them any favours. Captain Ashley Williams’ organisation of the defence has also seen a steady looking Welsh backline begin to emerge from the shadows, conceding just 4 goals in qualifying. An encouraging sign of things to come perhaps?