It may surprise many fans but until their memorable UEFA Euro 2016 tournament in France, Wales had never featured in a European Championship. Despite boasting some truly world class players over the years, such as John Charles, Ryan Giggs, Ian Rush and Neville Southall, Wales often fell just short. However, like many smaller nations, Wales have found things easier due to the expansion of the finals and the Dragons will also take part in Euro 2020 after qualifying for a second successive tournament.
Have Wales Ever Won the Euros?
Wales have never won the Euros, although they did finish in third place in their one and only European Championship appearance in 2016.
UEFA European Championship Results
At the time of writing, Wales have only appeared in one European Championship. It was an unforgettable one in France, as the Welsh shocked many by reaching the semi finals. Inspired by Gareth Bale but far from a one-man team, they played some great football and were very solid at the back. Wales built on that success, securing qualification to Euro 2020 by finishing second in Group E, and will be hoping to enjoy another fine Euros as and when that tournament is able to take place.
|Year||Host||Stage of Elimination (Position)||Manager||Top Scorer|
|2016||France||Semi-final (3rd)||Chris Coleman||Gareth Bale (3)|
Wales qualified for their first European Championship after finishing runners-up to Belgium in Euro 2016 qualifying Group B and edging out Bosnia and Herzegovina. Managed by the popular Chris Coleman, the Welsh won six, drew three and lost only one of 10 games to go through on an impressive 21 points, just two behind a much-vaunted Belgium.
They were then paired against old rivals England in the group stage in France, with Russia and Slovakia also taking part in a relatively easy looking Group B. Wales’ first ever European Championship game ended in victory, as goals from Real Madrid’s Bale and Hal Robson-Kanu gave them a 2-1 win over Slovakia in Bordeaux. A 2-1 loss to England in game two was a setback, but Wales booked their spot in the knockouts in emphatic style, thumping Russia 3-0 in Toulouse in their final group match.
Fellow Brits Northern Ireland were waiting in the last 16, with an own goal putting the Dragons through with a 1-0 win in a very even game in Paris. They were the big underdogs against a talented Belgium team in the quarter finals, but Ashley Williams, Robson-Kanu and Sam Vokes were on the scoresheet in an outstanding 3-1 win.
Wales come up short in the last four after a 2-0 defeat to eventual winners Portugal, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani blitzing them with goals in the 50th and 53rd minutes. None the less, Coleman’s Dragons had an unforgettable time in France and earned lots of plaudits at their first ever Euros. Perhaps surprisingly, Bale did not make the official Team of the Tournament but colleagues Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen did, testament to just how impressive the Welsh were.
Times Wales Didn’t Qualify For the Euros
Before finally qualifying in 2016, Wales had 13 consecutive unsuccessful qualifying bids. For much of the 1980s and early 1990s Wales had a number of top players but they never quite managed to get over the line and make the finals. They went close in Euro 1992 qualifying, finishing second to Germany by a point in Group 5. Wales also missed out by one point to Yugoslavia in qualifying for Euro 1984.
Wales progressed to the play-offs in Euro 2004 qualification. The Dragons won four of eight matches to finish second to Italy. Mark Hughes’ men then went up against Russia in the play-offs. After an excellent 0-0 draw away from home, Wales fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat in Cardiff in the second leg to miss out.
|2012||Poland & Ukraine||Brian Flynn / Gary Speed||8||3||0||5|
|2008||Austria & Switzerland||John Toshack||12||4||3||5|
|2000||Belgium & Netherlands||Bobby Gould / Mark Hughes||8||3||0||5|
|1996||England||Mike Smith / Bobby Gould||10||2||2||6|
|1988||West Germany||Mike England||6||2||2||2|
|1980||Italy||Mike Smith / Mike England||6||3||0||3|