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Why Wales will win UEFA EURO 2016

With Chris Coleman's side having come this far, it would be daft not to go all the way now; team reporter Mark Pitman makes the case for the Dragons to win the EURO.

Gareth Bale and Neil Taylor: Together. Stronger.
Gareth Bale and Neil Taylor: Together. Stronger. ©AFP/Getty Images

We've got Gareth Bale
The 26-year-old Real Madrid forward is a superstar minus the ego when it comes to representing his country. Modest about his contribution, Bale's burning passion and desire to succeed are an inspiration to the rest of the team. With his world-class ability, Bale has made the difference in several games, and the attention he commands from opponents has created space for colleagues to prosper. He did not have a hand in a single goal in the 3-1 quarter-final win against Belgium, but Wales could not have beaten the Red Devils without him. With top-level club experience, he will not be fazed by Wales's next challenges here at UEFA EURO 2016.

Wales are tactically perfect
Club coaches can tailor their squads to fit a preferred system; international managers have to work with what is available. Blending superstars with more rugged talents from England's lower leagues, Chris Coleman has fine-tuned a fluid 5-3-2 that plays to the strengths of his charges and also compensates for their vulnerabilities. The unchanged defence has been the foundation for their success, yet there is room to adjust the attacking line-up to maximise the threat to the opposition – something Coleman has done to tremendous effect.

We have the 'Red Wall' behind us
The anthem, the goal celebrations, the post-match euphoria in the stadiums, squares and streets of France; Wales's fans have been incredible throughout the campaign and they are inspiring the players every inch of the way. Coleman's side were heroes as soon as they qualified and the support they have received from the first match against Slovakia has been generous and unqualified. The fans have been determined that this would not be another Welsh footballing disappointment and have played a huge part in taking the team this far.

Aaron Ramsey is suspended
Aaron Ramsey is suspended©AFP/Getty Images

On the other hand ...

Those suspensions
Every change counts for a Wales squad lacking strength-in-depth and the absences through suspension of Aaron Ramsey and Ben Davies for Wednesday's Lyon semi-final could make a massive diference to Wales's capacity to subdue and subjugate Portugal. With Davies out, Coleman will have to tinker with his defence for the first time at these finals, while Ramsey's class – both in attack and in closing down space in midfield – is a huge miss. Replacing them effectively is Coleman's toughest assignment yet.