They caused a surprise years ago, recently they lost to the Poles. Wales has something to remember

They caused a surprise years ago, recently they lost to the Poles.  Wales has something to remember

The Welsh will not appear at Euro 2024 due to the lost play-offs against Poland. Eight years ago, they were the biggest surprise of the Old Continent championship.

The Polish national team will extend its streak of appearances at the next European Championships. Since Euro 2008, the White and Reds have qualified for every tournament on the Old Continent. This time was no different. Although due to poor play in the qualifications, the players of first Fernando Santos and then Michał Probierz needed the play-offs, in them they first defeated Estonia, and a few days later, after penalties, Wales.

The Poles are the executioners of the Welsh

The lack of Welsh players is one of the surprises of qualifying. The team that was once considered a whipping boy has, over the last ten years, become a solid team that even played in the A division of the Nations League. The fall to a lower level was decided by defeats… against Poland. Therefore, it can be said that the White and Reds have been depriving players from the islands of the pleasure of playing in recent years.

Who knows how the possible semi-final of Euro 2016 would have turned out if then-Wales had met Poland. The White and Reds, led by Adam Nawałka, lost after penalties to Portugal, which was later dismissed by the Welsh team. They still had reasons to be satisfied, as they finished their first European Championship in history in the top four.

Wales welcomes big football

Wales was one of several debutants at the 2016 European Championships. It entered the tournament by taking second place in group B of the qualifications. Chris Coleman's team, who has led the team since 2012, was the revelation of the qualifying round. Earlier, in the World Championship qualifiers, the team failed badly, taking fifth place. Despite this, the federation authorities trusted the coach, who repaid him with a dream promotion.

Although the English were the clear favorites in group B, the Welsh showed that they were also dangerous. First, they defeated Slovakia 2:1. Later they lost to the Sons of Albion 1:2, and finally defeated Russia 3:0. Gareth Bale led the Wales team throughout the tournament. It was often said about the famous footballer that he played much better in the national team than in the club.

Bale and company left the group in first place, which gave them the opportunity to play against Northern Ireland – the team that competed with Poland in the first phase of the tournament. Paradoxically, it was not an easy match for Wales, which for a long time could not find a way to break its rivals. The goal was finally scored, but it was by Gareth McAuley – the visiting team's representative. Thanks to an own goal, Coleman's team won 1-0 and advanced to the quarterfinals.

The greatest day of Welsh football

Belgium, their qualifying rival, was waiting for them there. At the beginning of July 2016, the Welsh played one of the most memorable matches. The Cinderella of the tournament defeated the heavy medal favorite 3-1 with goals from Ashley Williams, Hal Robson-Kanu and Sam Vokes. Radja Nainggolan's opening goal was of no use. Wales went crazy with joy because it was in the best four in Europe.

The match against Portugal ended in a 0:2 defeat. Polish (and probably Welsh) fans can still wonder what the Euro 2016 semi-final would have looked like if there had been a clash between Nawałka's team and Coleman's team. There are many opinions that the White and Reds could have tried to reach the final if we had been more lucky in the penalty shootout.

Euro 2024 on TV

Wales also took part in Euro 2020, where they finished second in the group that included the eventual champions, Italy. However, the adventure with the tournament ended in the 1/8 finals, when an excited Denmark defeated them 4-0. After the defeat in the March play-offs, Dragons fans may feel great sadness. For the first time in years, they will be absent from the event where they managed to surprise many experts.

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