Wales can win the Euros

Before you laugh and click away from this article, hear me out.

As much as I’d love to see Ukraine do the Eurovision/Euro 2016 double, it’s obviously hard to go past the big teams – but Wales have the personnel and potential to do just that.

With a solid core of Premier League players, and the match-winning abilities of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, Wales could surpass expectations and go on to ‘do a Greece’.

And don’t count them out as a one-man team, says Gareth Bale.

“It’s never a one-man team,” he said.

“For us it’s a squad thing. We’re ‘Together Stronger’ and it’s there for a reason – we don’t just say it for no reason.

“We all work hard as one unit – we attack as one and we defend as one. When we lose the ball we all fight back to get it.”

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Captain Ashley Williams will lead his nation into its first major tournament since 1976, the powerful defender ready to marshal the back-line against Slovakia, Russia and neighbours England.

Joe Allen will join Ramsey in the middle of the park, making for a technically gifted midfield, while Crystal Palace’s Joe Ledley is unlikely to start the first game against Slovakia as a result of an injury late in the Premier League season.

Andy King will be the likely replacement if Ledley is not ready come match-day, off the back of a history-making season as the first player to win League One, the Championship and the Premier League with the same team.

Gareth Bale joined the squad a little later than his teammates, after winning the Champions League with club side Real Madrid, but that won’t affect his spot in the pecking order.

Despite everything I’ve just said, Wales’ warm-up form has been undeniably poor.

The game against Sweden was messy for the Dragons, the team seeming rather directionless until Bale entered the fray from the bench.

Form can go out the window at any moment though – if the tournament favorites were picked on form, Northern Ireland would be leading the pack, a team currently on a 12-match unbeaten run.

Wales’ Manager Chris Coleman isn’t reading into the result of the Sweden friendly too much either.

“Had we beaten Sweden, it doesn’t guarantee anything (against Slovakia),” he said.

“It’s always good to win, it’s good to play well, get a bit of momentum and confidence.

“Forget about the run we’ve been on, what form you’re in, it’s all about that game.

“It’s all about that first game and we’ll use everything we have, all the powers we have to get the performance right in that first game.”

If they do get everything right in that first game, they have the solid defensive personnel, the technically-talented midfield and the explosive abilities of Bale to make a real statement in this tournament.

Greece did it against the odds in 2004, and nobody thought much of Denmark going into 1992, so why not Wales in 2016?

Who knows, Wales could very quickly go from first-time qualifiers to first-time contenders.

Dion Corbo