UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Can Wales eclipse their class of '58?

Chris Coleman's side are making a noise at UEFA EURO 2016, but reaching the quarter-final stage provides another opportunity to set a new mark for Wales.

Wales line up in 1958
Wales line up in 1958 ©Getty Images

The 1958 FIFA Word Cup in Sweden was Wales's one and only previous major tournament. Generations of players had performed in the shadow of the country's golden era, but 58 years of hurt ended when Gareth Bale and company reached UEFA EURO 2016.

Greats such as John Toshack, Joey Jones, Mark Hughes, Neville Southall, Kevin Ratcliffe, Ian Rush, Ryan Giggs and the late Gary Speed all tried and failed to achieve what the likes of Ivor Allchurch, Cliff Jones, Trevor Ford and the legendary John Charles had done under Jimmy Murphy's guidance in 1958. Manager Chris Coleman, another who was unable to scale the heights during his own international playing career, finally brought that particular wait to a close.

However, the quarter-finals remain synonymous with the team of 1958, since that is where their journey came to a halt; as such, they are the hurdle that Coleman and his side must overcome to establish themselves, without argument, as the greatest-ever Welsh team. A solitary goal from a young Pelé proved the difference in Gothenburg when Wales bowed out to eventual winners Brazil, though the Dragons were without talisman Charles through injury and the team would always wonder what might have been.

Coleman has preached to his players throughout this French campaign that they should enjoy the experience. They have listened. The squad's 'Together, Stronger' motto has become ingrained in their mentality, extending from the team, through the staff and to the fans. There is a belief springing from within that this is a special moment in Welsh football history. The scenes that accompany each goal, each victory, are bigger and better than the ones before.

Now back in the last eight of a major tournament for the first time since 1958, captain Ashley Williams will wait for news on the shoulder injury he sustained against Northern Ireland on Saturday, with Coleman desperate for his leader to pull through and not suffer the same frustration as Charles.

Meanwhile, Bale, Aaron Ramsey and the rest have embraced their opportunity to play on the big international stage throughout this championship, and eclipsing the exploits of the last golden generation is now firmly within their grasp.