Wales have been waiting 58 years to appear at a major tournament and that wait finally comes to an end as Chris Coleman’s side kick off their Euro 2016 campaign against Slovakia.
Both sides will be eyeing this game up as a perfect opportunity in which to get a vital three points on the board what with fixtures against England and Russia both to follow. With third place being good enough to get out of the group a win here could almost already give them one foot in the Round of 16
Of course Wales’ danger man will be Gareth Bale but one man can’t do it all and it’s going to require a real team effort if they are to get anything from not this evening’s encounter but over the course of 3 group stage matches
Their preparations for the tournament didn’t end in the best fashion with Sweden comfortably beating them 3-0 last week. Gareth Bale came off the bench but by then it was already a lost cause as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and his teammates strolled to victory in Stockholm
An alarming stat is that they didn’t win any of their 4 friendlies since securing qualification to Euro 2016, Chris Coleman will have to be careful that his side haven’t peaked in getting to France. It would be disappointing to do all the hard work in getting here and then not actually turn up to the party
Their opponents Slovakia tested themselves out against British opposition last Saturday with a goalless draw against fellow qualifiers Northern Ireland. They will look to be solid at the back with the obvious household being Martin Skrtel.
Although Slovakia fans will hope that Skrtel’s performances for Slovakia are better than the ones he offered up for Liverpool in the second half of the season. That 45 minute of madness away to Southampton certainly springs to mind
Wales will come here full of optimism and will fully believe they can start their campaign with all three points. Much will depend on whether Gareth Bale is firing on all cylinders, then the games is there for the taking for Wales. I think they’ll just edge this with goals from both sides.