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UEFA Euro 2020 and Welsh Football

Updated: Nov 26, 2021

Submitted by Millie Connolly

Being a Cardiff City fan, Welsh football has a place in my heart like no other. Whether this is because of the likes of Will Vaulks, Kieffer Moore, and Harry Wilson playing for my club or because of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey tugging on the heartstring of every Welsh fan, including myself.

After the 2016 UEFA European Championship run, the 2020 Euros for every Welsh fan meant that bit more this time around. The qualifiers for Wales ended with Wales in second place having won four, drawn two, and lost two, with 14 points. Croatia in first place with 17 points.

The results of the matches were as followed:

Sunday 24th March 2019 – Wales 1-0 Slovakia

Sunday 8th June 2019 – Croatia 2-1 Wales

Tuesday 11th June 2019 – Hungary 1-0 Wales

Friday 6th September – Wales 2-1 Azerbaijan

Thursday 10th October 2019 – Slovakia 1-1 Wales

Sunday 13th October 2019 – Wales 1-1 Croatia

Saturday 16th November 2019 – Azerbaijan 0-2 Wales

Tuesday 19th November 2019 – Wales 2-0 Hungary

And the final group table looking as followed:

Croatia had won their final game against Slovakia 3-1, meaning Wales had to win against Hungary if they were to place second. A draw would have meant that they would have been in 4th place and a loss would see the Euros disappear out of thin air for the Welsh.

On a bitter Tuesday night in November, 31,762 filled out the Cardiff City stadium. Silently praying for a win and silently praying we would see that Welsh magic that we all know and love. Wales lined up as Hennessey, Davies, Mepham, Roberts, Lockyer, Morrell, Allen, Ramsey, Bale, Moore, James. The substitutes played being Ampadu and Wilson. Before the whistle the fans could sense something special in the atmosphere, streams of red, yellow, and green bucket hats lined the red wall. The slight noise from the Hungarian fans was drowned out by the dominating ‘Wales Wales Wales’ and the new fan favourite of ‘Wales Golf Madrid.’

After the eye-watering rendition of the anthem, it was time for a deep breath before every heartbeat in the stadium was transported to a place never been known before. With goals from Ramsey in the 15th and 47th minute securing the win. The ball travelling from end to end, it was pure enjoyment and excitement to watch. Saves from Hennessey resulting in every welsh fan applauding his hands for being the saviour of our game.

The partnership of Ramsey and Bale being one full of love. This was shared with 30,000 other people in the stadium. The night was was so special because of the magic and the excitement in the air, there were connections between every person in the stadium and a sense of harmony could be felt. People had come from many different places around Wales to watch these magicians send us to the Euros once more and they delivered - we as fans, thank them for this.

At the end of the night, Welsh fans were parted with ‘Can’t take my eyes off you’ and the harmonised movement of jumping and throwing arms and bodies into the sky celebrating with the biggest beams on our faces – which by that point were ice cold with redness stained on our cheeks. Whereas the night was coming to an end, the journey of the Euros was only just beginning… until the Coronavirus put football into a stand still three months later.

29th January 2020 – The first case of the Coronavirus was found in the United Kingdom.

13th March 2020 – League Football was postponed until at least 3rd April.

16th March 2020 – A National Lockdown was announced.

18th March 2020 – The Euros were postponed.

17th June 2020 – Premier League Football returned, alongside with the Championship a few days later.

Our lives have suffered as of the pandemic, starting over a year ago. Sacrifices have been made across all aspects and different lives and industries in the world. The football world has lost millions worth of revenue; had hundreds of matches being played behind closed door; had hundreds of cases of the Coronavirus and the loss of the heart of the game: the fans. Though League Football (in most countries has returned), International Football has been experiencing a slow and steady return. Some Nation League matches were played from October to December but many were cancelled or postponed due to travel or cases.

I have reflected on the short journey so far of the Euros 2020 and the story of Wales. I focused on the thrilling and excitement of the Wales v Hungary game. I realised the importance of not just International Football but football as a whole to the community. The Pandemic has given and taught us one thing and this being the essence of time. Our lives are filled with the hustle and bustle of work and everything in between and football is our getaway. We must allow ourselves time to enjoy the little things in life whether this is taking a trip down memory lane, as I have done, or anticipating the next section of the Euros journey taking place this summer - or our continual love for Welsh football.

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