Euro 2016 Gareth Bale Wales

Euro 2016 – Wales continue amazing run to semi-finals

What an amazing Euro 2016 championships this is proving to be. England may not be there after an ignominious departure but Wales certainly are.

At the start of the tournament Gareth Bale was being quizzed by commentators and insisting little Wales were not just in France to make up the numbers.

But he went further than that and maintained that the ambition was to get to the final and win. That provoked a certain amount of wry amusement. Fighting talk by the minnow. It would be good if they could get out of their group and go home with honour.

But winning it? You’re in fantasy land there, Gareth.

Nobody is saying it now. Wales stand just two games away from the supposedly impossible achievement. They have Portugal next – Bale v Ronaldo. How exciting is that?

Portugal should win … but then Belgium should have won and were put away 3-1.

Portugal are not a brilliant side. They have a superstar in Ronaldo, a youngster who really looks the part in Renato Sanches and former Manchester United winger Nani. But that is about it.

And, anyway, Wales have their own superstar in Bale.

Portugal have not been convincing. Famous last words, but Ronaldo has been relatively quiet. Wales won’t fear them – that is for certain. They will respect them, but fear? No.

As the pundits declared, Hal Robson Kanu’s goal against Belgium would have done justice to Lionel Messi. Done justice to Ronaldo. His Cruyff turn sent three defenders the wrong way and it was face to face with goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

Even then you might have expected this ex-Reading forward, currently without a club, to panic, hit a tame shot, smash it wide. Instead he calmly slotted it past Courtois for one of the great goals.

He and his team-mates are playing out of their skins. It is wonderful to watch. And makes you ponder how England can be so poor. But we won’t go there – there’s simply too much hurt.

Meanwhile on the other side of the Euro 2016 draw the big boys are all coming up against each other

Germany eliminated Italy in a penalty shoot-out. Now the host nation have thrashed brave Iceland it is Germany v France in the semis.

These are draining encounters which might take a toll come the final.

So let’s dare to dream and think a Wales v Germany final.

I find it hard to even write those words yet it could come to pass. Surely Wales could not overcome a German side with so many great players. Could St David slay Goliath?

What we have to remember is that there is previous when it comes to upsets.

Greece, who have done nothing before or since, won in 2004. Denmark claimed the prize in 1992 – only in the finals because UEFA did not allow Yugoslavia, then in its death throws amidst bloody war and appalling atrocities, to participate.

So it is now OK for Wales to dare to dream.

 

Attention turns to the Premier League season which returns in August

Football fans attention now turns to the 2016/17 Premier League season. The most exciting league in the world will feature some of the finest managers on the planet this season with Jose Mourinho taking the reigns at Manchester United. Antonio Conte taking charge of Chelsea and Pep Guardiola arriving at Manchester City.

Can Leicester City mount a serious defence of their Premier League title? Will Tottenham Hotspur once again be pushing for Champions League football? Can Liverpool be the dark horses under Jurgen Klopp?

All will be revealed on the opening weekend of the season – Saturday 13th/Sunday 14th/Monday 15th August 2016.

For more information please see our Premier League hospitality packages page.