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UEFA EURO 2020 contenders in focus: Wales

Our whistle-stop tour of the UEFA EURO 2020 contenders moors up in Wales.

Wales enjoy a memorable win against Belgium in 2016
Wales enjoy a memorable win against Belgium in 2016

EURO pedigree

Previous final tournaments: 1
EURO best: semi-finals (2016)

Inspired by Gareth Bale, manager Chris Coleman guided Wales to a memorable semi-final finish in their only EURO appearance. The supporters travelled to France in their tens of thousands in 2016, with the 'Together Stronger' strapline an accurate reflection of the bond between players and fans. The efforts of the 'red wall' to get behind their team were recognised with a UEFA award for their outstanding contribution to the tournament.

Key players

Watch stunning Bale EURO 2016 free-kick
Watch stunning Bale EURO 2016 free-kick

Gareth Bale (87 caps, 33 goals)
The all-time leading goalscorer for Wales, Bale has been the talismanic figure of this team for over a decade. Now 31, his experience in this young squad proved to be invaluable throughout qualifying, while his undoubted ability combined with his commitment and passion for representing his country make him a formidable opponent.

Aaron Ramsey (61 caps, 16 goals)
Perhaps the most technically gifted player in this Wales squad, Ramsey's opportunities during qualifying were limited by injury. However, he did come up trumps with both goals against Hungary on the final day to seal Wales' EURO spot. Rejuvenated in his versatile attacking role in the Juventus midfield this season, Ramsey looks set to be back to his best in time for the summer.

Memorable EURO goals

• It was fitting that Bale would score Wales' first goal at a EURO finals, a trademark free-kick against Slovakia in Bordeaux on the opening day setting the tone for a famous 2-1 victory. The euphoric celebrations that followed became a defining image of the competition.

• Defender Neil Taylor has only scored one goal in his entire international career – he chose the biggest stage of all. Taylor's strike helped Coleman's side to a convincing 3-0 win against Russia in the final round of 2016 group games that confirmed Wales as Group B winners above rivals England.

Robson-Kanu's Wales stunner against Belgium
Robson-Kanu's Wales stunner against Belgium

• Ask any Welsh fan where they were when Hal Robson-Kanu sent three Belgium defenders the wrong way in Lille and they will remember. Turning and twisting before finishing in style, Robson-Kanu's goal in the 3-1 quarter-final win quickly established his place in Welsh football folklore.

Memorable moments

• Wales' only tournament appearance prior to 2016 was at the 1958 FIFA World Cup. No wonder, then, that the atmosphere in Bordeaux for their opening match against Slovakia was a celebration that generations before could only dream of. The rendition of the national anthem – Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau – will not be forgotten by those fortunate enough to be there.

• Belgium were hot favourites in the quarter-finals, and it seemed that the dream was over when Radja Nainggolan put the Red Devils ahead. However, captain Ashely Williams inspired a comeback with the equaliser before half-time, with Robson-Kanu and Sam Vokes then getting in on the act to secure one of Wales' greatest victories.

UEFA.tv: Wales 3-1 Belgium highlights


Stats

Every goal on Wales' road to EURO 2020
Every goal on Wales' road to EURO 2020

Most final tournament appearances
6: Neil Taylor, Gareth Bale, Chris Gunter, Joe Ledley, Joe Allen, James Chester, Ashley Williams
5: Wayne Hennessey, Aaron Ramsey, Hal Robson-Kanu, Ben Davies

Most final tournament goals
3: Gareth Bale
2: Hal Robson-Kanu

Killer stat: Despite missing the semi-final through suspension, Ramsey contributed four assists at EURO 2016, joint top for the tournament with Belgium's Eden Hazard.

Did you know?

• Portugal registered just one victory inside 90 minutes on their way to winning EURO 2016 – against Wales in the last four.

• Wales were fourth seeds in their qualifying group for EURO 2016.

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