Wales team profile

More than half a century since last participating in a major tournament, Wales finally emerged from the international wilderness as Gareth Bale inspired a successful UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying campaign.

Ian Rush (Wales) & Zoran Simović (Yugoslavia)

Best result: never previously qualified
Coach: Chris Coleman
Leading scorers: all-time – Ian Rush (28); current – Gareth Bale (19)
Most appearances: all-time – Neville Southall (92); current – Chris Gunter (64)
Association formed: 1876
Nickname: Dreigiau (Dragons)
Where they play: Cardiff City Stadium; Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

Wales last participated in a major tournament at the 1958 FIFA World Cup in Sweden, in which a John Charles-inspired team reached the quarter-finals. They did reach the last eight of the 1976 UEFA European Championship but lost a two-legged tie to Yugoslavia and missed out on the four-team final tournament. Since then a plethora of top-class footballers, among them Ian Rush and Ryan Giggs, have been unable to represent the Principality on the biggest stage. However, thanks to the seven goals of Gareth Bale in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying, the country will at last compete at a major tournament after a 58-year wait.

EURO pedigree
Matches played
Overall: P104 W41 D21 L42 F125 A133
Final tournament: P0 W0 D0 L0 F0 A0
Qualifying: P104 W41 D21 L42 F125 A133

Yugoslavia were always Wales' bogey team in the UEFA European Championship, denying them a place in the four-team 1976 final tournament and then stopping the Dragons in their tracks in qualifying for the 1984 final tournament. Victory in the final home game would have taken Wales through but Mehmed Baždarević's 81st-minute leveller enabled the visitors to claim the qualifying berth.

Not until UEFA EURO 2004 did Wales come as close again. Facing Russia in the play-offs, hopes soared after a 0-0 draw in Moscow only for a 1-0 home defeat to deny them once more. UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying proved to be a more troubled campaign than most, with promising results on the pitch overshadowed by the death of manager Gary Speed in November 2011.

Memorable EURO matches
12/06/15: Wales 1-0 Belgium, UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying
Gareth Bale's 25th-minute winner in Cardiff brought Wales a pivotal victory in their UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying quest.

15/11/2003: Russia 0-0 Wales, UEFA EURO 2004 play-off
A fine defensive display made it advantage Wales before a home loss proved their undoing.

05/06/1991: Wales 1-0 Germany, EURO '92 qualifying
Ian Rush's 66th-minute winner gave Wales a deserved victory over the world champions.

Did you know?
Wales became only the third team to play an official international match when they lost 4-0 to Scotland in a friendly in Partick on 25 March 1876. Wales' entirely amateur squad included two lawyers, a timber merchant, a soldier, a stonemason, a miner and defender William Williams, who made chimney tops.

*Last updated on 18/11/15