Wales

In order to qualify for the home play-off against Austria in March, Wales needed to finish as runners-up in Group E behind Belgium. Bale scored twice in the 2-1 triumph, and his deflected free kick against Ukraine in Cardiff proved to be the pivotal factor in the country’s making history.

This is a great group of players, and manager Rob Page has the luxury of being able to choose from players of all ages and levels of experience. This is something that none of his predecessors could do.

The qualification of the Welsh national football team for the European Championships in 2016 and 2020 established a new benchmark and elevated fans’ expectations, but making it to the World Cup for the first time since 1958 will take Welsh football to an entirely new level.

TACTICS

The 3-4-2-1 system, with an emphasis on attacking wide play and making use of the speed of Bale, Brennan Johnson, or Dan James in attack, has become the favoured approach. Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey, who play in midfield, are extremely important in facilitating the wingbacks’ ability to advance the ball.

Page took over the job at a tough time, but he has brought the team together and left his style of leadership on this group.

READY TO SHINE

Gareth Bale

Bale is the captain and star player for Wales, and he continues to be the driving force behind the country’s success because of his amazing ability to change the course of a game.