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‘I think they’ll struggle’: How accurate were British pundits’ predictions about Wales?

22 Jun 2021 4 minute read
Gareth Bale. Pic: FAW

Wales defied the predictions of many pundits when it clinched a place in the last 16 of Euro 2020 after coming second in its group.

Before the tournament kicked off, British sports radio station talkSPORT shared a video of its presenters on social media where they were asked: “How will Wales do at Euro 2020?”

But how accurate were they in assessing Wales’ chances of making it to the knockout stage of the tournament?

This is what they had to say:

Former Scottish international footballer Ally McCoist said: “Wales are in a tough group. I can see Wales finishing third.

“They’re in a tough, tough section. I think Turkey are probably an underrated team as well. But I think Wales could qualify in third place.”

Former England international Stuart Pearce said: “Form will probably dictate. They’ll be delighted to get out of the group. They’ve got a real tough, tough… certainly the travelling implications of that will be tough for Wales, but listen, I think it’s quite a wide-open tournament.”

English broadcaster Adrian Durham said: “Wales, they’ll be hoping for the euphoria of 2016, but I just can’t see it really, and Bale’s not the player he was. I just can’t see them getting out of the group – sorry.”

Former Tottenham Hotspur player Darren Bent said: “I think they’ll struggle. Listen, they’ve got Gareth Bale. We know that he can do magical things, and Aaron Ramsey. They’ve got quite a good squad. Again, I can’t see them getting out of their group.

“But again another home nation that’s there. It makes it interesting. I just think they’ll struggle a little bit. I don’t think they’ve got the strength in depth to win. But again seeing Wales in a major competition is still special.”


English businessman and former Crystal Palace owner Simon Jordan said: “I hope that Wales do well, and in the event that they don’t I hope we’re all as gracious as they were when they were singing when England got knocked out and losing to Iceland in the last Euros.”

talkSPORT presenter Laura Woods said: “Gareth Bale has basically been banging on about this all season hasn’t he, that he came to Spurs, he wanted to be Euros ready, all that sort of stuff. I’m going to say for Wales, I’m going to be bold and say quarter final.”

Former Chelsea player Jason Cundy said: “Gareth Bale is their talisman. He’s had his issues with fitness over the years and another tone or two of the Welsh players.

“But they’ve got another I think very exciting young side coming, so they might surprise a few, Wales.”

Scottish presenter Jim White said: “It’ll be very interesting to see what Wales do because you think of Wales and you think of one man, Gareth Bale, and if you’ve got Gareth Bale in your team, you could virtually do anything. So Wales might well progress from their group and if they do that’ll be an incredible achievement.”

Former Manchester City player Trevor Sinclair said: “Wales have done well, obviously with the stand in manager getting through to the Euro finals. Again I think they’re in a really difficult group and they’ll do well to get out of the group.”

Wales will play Denmark for a place in the quarter finals on Saturday, 26th June at the Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam.

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David Harking
David Harking
2 years ago

The comments given above seem to be more applicable to the English national side.

Richard Morse
Richard Morse
2 years ago

It’s a fantastic achievement by the Welsh side considering the situation with the manager and having to play two games in in hostile environments as the away team in the home stadium. Although I think we were lucky that Turkey played Italy first and were hammered, that must have hit their confidence. The game against Denmark is going to be very difficult with their team having been on an emotional roller-coaster. Hope Bale’s shooting boots are on at last.

Charles Evans
Charles Evans
2 years ago

Cool story. How about finding some predictions from Welsh pundits, too?

2 years ago

Not sure this is such a great angle from Nation here. “Wales getting out of the group would be a fantastic achievement” was largely the consensus amongst Welsh pundits (and fans) prior to the tournament as well, so seems a little harsh to single out English and Scottish pundits for that particular assessment.

It’s a bit like earlier in the year we had “Wales silence the doubters and win the 6 nations” but many of those doubters were Welsh.

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
2 years ago

Wales was odds on to finish bottom of the group, on all the betting sites I checked. They’re not usually wrong so making the last 16 really is a good achievement. Turkey had beaten the Netherlands 4-2 as recently as March 2021 and beat France when qualifying for Euro 2020. They qualified with 7 wins 2 draws and 1 defeat. Switzerland qualified with 5 wins 2 draws and 1 defeat. Italy won all 10 of their qualifying matches! Wales scraped through with 4 wins 2 draws and 2 losses. Logically we really should be out of Euro 2020 by now!… Read more »

Charles Evans
Charles Evans
2 years ago
Reply to  Huw Davies

The English were sneered at when any of them wished Wales good luck in the Euros. Seems we get angry when they support us, and angry when they don’t.

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