Exit the Dragon

Andy Munro on the end of Wales’ hopes at Euro 2016.

It was as glorious a Euro 2016 campaign for Wales as it was an inglorious one for the Three ‘Lions’. However, and unfortunately, despite the pre0match hype, Gareth Bale was left more than a bit baleful as Wales’ part in the tournament went in like a dragon and went out like a lamb.

In fact, Portugal looked distinctly ordinary, Cristiano Ronaldo apart, although early on he was well marshalled. However, Wales played with too much trepidation and consequently Bale was too deep leaving Hal Robson-Kanu to show why he was reckoned surplus to requirements at Championship Reading.

Somebody had to make a positive move in the second period and unfortunately that team was Portugal. Once Ronaldo rose like the proverbial salmon to head home, Wales had their own Snowdon to climb, made worse by the opposition’s slightly fortuitous second.

Chris Coleman then showed that he is anything but mustard in the tactical stakes by doing a Roy Hodgson and pitching on forwards and central midfielders aplenty. This made the centre portion of the pitch as crowded as Oxford Circus on the first day of the sales when the match was crying out for width.

While this is a Blues fan speaking, Cotterill would have been ideal to feed a traditional centre forward like Sam Vokes whilst allowing Bale to also push up the pitch. a a spectator with a dad born in Wales and a Portuguese great-grandmother, I was in a win win situation but in the end Wales must be disappointed to lose a match that with the right tactics was certainly within their grasp.

Still, they went further than England, which was probably the most they could have hoped for at the start of the tournament.