Whilst the nation of Wales may regard rugby as their number one sport of choice, the country’s footballing counterparts still attract plenty of adoration, and now even more so with their recent triumphs at the 2016 European Championships. Unfortunately, achievements for the Welsh team have been few and far between, with the following article offering a brief glimpse into the Dragons’ rich history and scant successes.
Established in 1876, the Wales football team began their international career against Scotland, a match organised by FAW initiator Llewelyn Kenrick. Played in Partick, the Scots had the home advantage and experience in their favour, resulting in a resounding 4-0 defeat for the newly fledged Dragons. The two teams replayed the game a year later, this time in Wrexham, although home soil failed to ignite a win for the Welsh, with the Scottish once again dominant in a 2-0 victory.
1958 World Cup
The early 20th century offered little to celebrate for the national team, although the 1950s brought a new era to Welsh football, with legends Ivor Allchurch, John Charles and Alf Sherwood doing their utmost to improve their footballing credits. In 1958, Wales made their very first and only appearance in the World Cup, which took place in Sweden. The squad even made it to the quarter finals and were knocked out of the tournament by Pele’s first international goal, with Brazil going on to win the cup.
2016 UEFA Euros
After the tragic death of Gary Speed in 2011, Chris Coleman took the reins and steered Wales to their first ever European Championship in 2016. With footballing sensation Gareth Bale doing what he does best, the Dragons surprisingly topped the group above bitter rivals England. Dispatching Northern Ireland and Belgium respectively, the Welsh team even made it to the semi-finals, eventually succumbing to Portugal in a 2-0 defeat.