Well, as I’ve given my unsolicted reaction to Swansea’s FA draw ( https://couchpotatoscorner.sport.blog/2019/12/02/fa-cup-third-round-draw-reaction-swansea-city/ ), I might as well say a few words about Wales’ draw in the 2020 European Championship.
For those of you that are unaware, we have been drawn in Group A alongside Italy, Switzerland and Turkey.
Overall, I’m pretty damn pleased with that draw. Had you asked me beforehand who I wanted, I would have replied “Italy, Switzerland and Austria.” Turkey were the only “disappointment” for me, but it’s still a very winnable game if we turn up like we did the last three games of qualifying.
It’s a fair greater draw than the alternative, which would have been Belgium, Russia and Denmark. Yeah, we have beaten Belgium the last three times we’ve played them, and we pasted Russia in 2016 as well, but that was Pre-Robbie Martinez Belgium. A Red Devils side fused with Jack Bastard blood is an altogether different prospect.
When you also consider that Denmark have beaten us twice in very recent memory, I really did not fancy that group. I reckon we’d, at a push, have finished third, but not good enough to make it to the knock out stages.
As it stands, I think second place is well within our grasp.
I couldn’t tell you last time we played Turkey. Off the top of my head, I recall losing 6-3 out there in the France 98 Qualifiers, but I can’t think of a time after that. I’d say we’re pretty well matched.
Switzerland, I’ve maintained for years, are not as good as Wales. I’ve never understood how they regularly qualify for the majors and we don’t. What do they have that we don’t? If memory serves, we’ve defeated them the last two times we’ve met. Sure, past form counts for nothing, so I’m taking nothing for granted, but I fancy our chances.
As for Italy…they’ve won all their games in qualifying so we are expected to lose this game. With any luck, it’ll be a dead rubber as we’ll have won our opening two games. I’m not afraid of them, it’s just a healthy respect. Like I have a healthy respect for not pissing onto electric fences. We’ve beaten them before, and might just do it again as a one off.
All in all, I think we’ve an excellent chance of qualification. I’m trying not to get ahead of myself though. I’m going to be working on the mentality of 2016: I’m just happy to be here.
I remember Gareth Bale giving us the lead against Slovakia and thinking “it doesn’t get any better than this.” I was wrong and I hope by taking it one goal at a time, I’ll be wrong again.
The likelihood of us making the semis again? I’m going to rule it out here and now. Not going to happen. No way. Nuh uh. (Please God let me be wrong)
As for the rest of the draw, being an armchair Germany fan, their group makes my Spidey Senses tingle.
I am praying for Scotland to join us as they will be in the same group as England.
European Championships. England and Scotland at Wembley. Semis and final at Wembley… It takes me back to Euro 1996, which was the first time I put the telly on and saw a game of football and realised that my rugby loving parents were wrong, I did like this game.
I can’t fucking wait.