There is only one way that Wales will manage to reach the quarter-finals and beyond of this summer’s European Championships and that’s if Gareth Bale and Joe Rodon perform exceptionally well.
Following a fantastic 2-0 win against Turkey, the only game left for them in the group stage comes against Italy.
The odds are in Italy’s favour but even if Roberto Mancini’s men do win the game, Wales still have a high likelihood of getting through to the round of 16.
In the round of 16, could find themselves as underdogs. However, there is also the chance that they could get a favourable draw if they come second in Group A.
Either way, all it takes is for Bale and Rodon to replicate their performance against Turkey and the knockout game will be winnable.
I believe that the furthest Wales can get to, realistically, is the quarter-finals, with even that being extremely difficult to accomplish.
Neither Bale nor Rodon played well against Switzerland and Wales got rather lucky by scraping a 1-1 draw with a 74th-minute equaliser.
However, in the game against Turkey, Bale and Rodon were both amazing. Bale got two incredible assists and Rodon put in many key tackles to help them to victory.
Before coming into the Euros, Bale was in excellent form, scoring two against Leicester in the final game of the season. Rodon hadn’t been seen much towards the end of the campaign, but when he did play he was always the best out of the Tottenham defence.
If Bale carries Wales to a respectable Euros finish, he will get more game time when he inevitably goes back to Real Madrid. The same goes for Rodon but the extra minutes being with Spurs.
Therefore both players will be extremely motivated to perform above people’s expectations. With Bale’s attacking superiority to many other forwards at the competition and Rodon’s defensive skill they will play a huge role in Wales’ victories.
Looking back at the 2016 Euros, Wales did incredible, surpassing everybody’s expectations. They got an unexpected win against Belgium and went out in the semi-final to the tournament winners, Portugal.
The Wales team of 2016 had some of their players in the best form of their careers. Aaron Ramsey along with Joe Allen were both named in the team of the tournament.
As well as this, Bale was one of the most in-form players in the competition. This isn’t likely to happen again, but seeing fellow compatriots achieve this last time out could inspire some younger players from this year’s crop to go out and do the same.
One of the many arguments that could be used against Wales being successful in the Euros is the manager they’ve been forced to use. Due to the allegations Ryan Giggs faced, he could no longer manage Wales and Robert Page had to take over.
Page has an unimpressive record of previously managed teams. Starting his managing career with Port Vale in 2014, he has since managed Northampton Town, Wales U21 and has now become the caretaker for the senior side.
However, with the help of Bale and Rodon, it is definitely possible for Wales to progress and reach the quarter-finals.
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