ph.FAB / Shutterstock.com
Wales upset the odds to reach the Round of 16 at the European Championship having come through a group containing Italy, Switzerland, and Turkey.
With Italy playing all their group fixtures in Rome and the Welsh having to play Turkey in Baku, with a strong showing of Turkish fans, it was always going to be difficult to qualify for the knockout stages.
A picture can say a thousand words.#WAL | #EURO2020 | #TogetherStronger pic.twitter.com/0iNH3fVVoV
— Wales 🏴 (@Cymru) June 20, 2021
However, Wales produced a tremendous performance to defeat Turkey 2-0, having previously picked up a point in a 1-1 draw against Switzerland.
The game in Italy was always going to be tough and Wales lost the match 1-0, having had a man sent off in the second half.
Wales finished second in the group and were hoping to meet either Russia or Finland in the Round of 16. However, they came up against a Denmark team who were on a roll following their excellent 4-1 victory over Russia, which was enough to see them qualify in second place.
Denmark lost two of their three group fixtures, one of which was against Finland in extremely difficult circumstances and the other against one of the tournament favourites, Belgium.
Wales started the game against Denmark strongly and Gareth Bale picked up some threating positions in the final third. However, as soon as Denmark changed their shape, they got on top and scored with their first real chance of the game.
A defensive mistake led to the second Danish goal at the beginning of the second half and Denmark added two more goals as Wales chased the match late on.
The final score of 4-0 looks bad and Wales were nowhere near their best. That being said, there were moments that turned the game, especially the foul on Kieffer Moore in the build up to the second goal, which ended any Welsh hopes of a comeback.
It is worth remembering Wales travelled thousands of miles to Baku and Rome for group games before flying to Amsterdam for this match, with no Welsh fans allowed inside the Netherlands.
Denmark played all their group fixtures in Copenhagen and made the short trip to Amsterdam, backed by thousands of Danish fans inside the stadium, so Wales were up against it.
The Welsh squad was the third youngest at Euro 2020, so despite the fact Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey are the wrong side of 30, there is plenty to be excited about for the future.
There are World Cup qualifiers just around the corner in September and Bale and Ramsey are sure to be on hand for one final push to see Wales qualify for the World Cup.
The next fixtures for Wales are World Cup qualifying games against Belarus and Estonia, both of which they will expect to win.
Victories in those two matches will leave Wales in a strong position having already defeated Czech Republic at home.
— Wales 🏴 (@Cymru) June 26, 2021
You must go back to 1958 to find the last time Wales qualified for the World Cup and this group of players could yet make more history, putting the loss against Denmark behind them by playing in Qatar in 2022.