The last few years have been pretty fascinating for fans of Welsh football. They were able to make it all the way through to the semi finals of UEFA Euro 2016 in what can only be described as a huge triumph, and then just a few years later, they failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Under the guidance of Ryan Giggs many fans weren’t sure what to think of the road to UEFA Euro 2020, but now, it seems as if there’s cause for optimism.
The Welsh were able to start off their qualification campaign with a big win over Slovakia in Cardiff this afternoon, and they did so with a really efficient performance. They came flying out of the blocks in every way a team could possibly hope to, with Daniel James’ bullet giving them an early lead.
The visitors slowly built their way back into the game and had a few efforts saved by Wayne Hennessey, but Wales had their chances too. As the game went on there was certainly a nervous energy in the stadium, with fears abound that they were going to surrender what would’ve been a deserved win.
Hope lives once again in Wales
Hennessey made another top save late in the game to ensure that the Welsh took home the win, which is a really big result for them on the road to next summer’s tournament. There’s certainly still work to be done throughout the core of the squad, but for the most part, there’s a lot to like and plenty to work with for Giggs.
Wales’ group is a really interesting one with Croatia and Hungary also serving as tricky contenders in the near future. Those two teams will go head to head later on today, but with the Slovaks being considered one of the other top seeds in the group, there’s no way of getting around how positive this result has been for Gareth Bale and company.
The next competitive game for Wales will take place in June when they face World Cup finalists Croatia, whereas Slovakia will travel to take on Azerbaijan.
Wales: Hennessey (8), Roberts (7), Mepham (6.5), Lawrence (7), Davies (7), Wilson (7), Allen (6.5), Smith (7), James (8), Brooks (7.5), Bale (7), Vaulks (N/A), Williams (N/A), Roberts (6.5)
Slovakia: Dubravka (6), Pekarik (6), Safranko (N/A), Vavro (5.5), Skriniar (5.5), Hancko (6), Kucka (6), Lobotka (5.5), Hamsik (6.5), Rusnak (6), Duda (6), Duris (6), Mak (5.5), Stoch (N/A)
Referee: Felix Zwayer
Yellow Cards: Allen, Brooks, Vavro, Kucka, Lobotka, Hamsik, Duris, Mak, Stoch
Red Cards: N/A
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