How Wales left their mark on Euro 2020

280621 wales players and fans pa/faw
Credit: PA/FAW

A second European Championships in a row had been greatly anticipated by fans and players.

Going into Euro 2020, Tylerstown born Robert Page told ITV Wales of how proud he is to lead Wales at a major tournament and Gareth Bale said he wants to inspire young children to play for Wales.

In 2016, Wales fans or the 'Red Wall' were voted the best at the tournament. However, due to travel restrictions, only a few hundred could support the players in person.

But that didn't stop them from getting behind their team from their sofas or bars and leaving their mark on Euro 2020.

Wales players celebrate a 2-0 win over Turkey. Credit: PA

Wales' first two group matches were in Azerbaijan, but despite calls from the Football Association of Wales and the Welsh Government not to travel because of covid-19, hundreds of fans travelled to Baku.

With only a few hundred fans in the stadium for the opening group match against Switzerland, most watched anxiously from back home.

At a fan zone in Cardiff, 250 watched on the big screen as Kieffer Moore scored the equalizer and Wales came away with a 1-1 draw.

Fans celebrate Kieffer Moore's equaliser in a fan zone in Cardiff. Credit: PA

Wales took a huge step towards the knockout stage with a 2-0 win against Turkey.

Aaron Ramsey struck close to half-time and Connor Roberts secured victory in the final seconds.

The game was not without its drama - with Gareth Bale missing a penalty.

In Baku, a few hundred Wales fans were vastly outnumbered again but in Wales, supporters adorned the red shirt from fan zones, pubs and their sofas at home.

  • Relive the glory with fans celebrating Wales' victory over Turkey.

In between the two games, the players took a stroll around Baku.

Wales players took a walking tour of Baku in between group matches. Credit: FAW
Jonny Williams poses for the camera in Baku. Credit: FAW

And before their final group match with Italy in Rome, they explored the 'Eternal City' thanks to a coach tour.

Harry Wilson take a snap of the Colosseum. Credit: FAW
Sightseeing was done from a distance for the Wales squad in Rome. Credit: FAW

Wales made it to the knockout stages of Euro 2020, despite losing 1-0 to Italy.

It was a case of victory in defeat as Wales' marginally superior goal difference compared to Switzerland meant their Euro dreams can continue.

In Rome, Wales and Italy fans celebrated reaching the next phase together.

Wales and Italy fans celebrate together after qualifying for the knockout stage if Euro 2020. Credit: ITV New

Understandably, it was a tense match for Wales fans who watched from living rooms and pubs across the country.

There were highs and lows for fans watching Wales play Italy. Credit: PA

One of the stars of the group stages was goalkeeper Danny Ward.

Head coach Rob Page has described his performance throughout the tournament as "outstanding" and "assured".

He joined Leicester City in 2018 but has only made 14 appearances and is yet to make his Premier League debut for the Foxes.

Danny Ward hadn't played a club game for four years before the tournament. Credit: FAW

Speaking about playing for Wales, Ward told ITV News: "I don't know whether it's the camaraderie we have and the team spirit, the will and the desire, the fans.

"I can't explain it, but all I know is we're all extremely, extremely proud to wear the dragon on our chest and I think that makes a big difference for us."

Back in Wales, anticipation for the Round of 16 grew, especially in Gwynedd, where a couple created a giant national team jersey the size of their house.

  • Rob Shelley interviews Lynne and John Humphreys-McCrickett about their giant creation.

Wales fans were told again not to travel to Amsterdam for the clash against Denmark.

But the ones who were there were determined to be as loud as they could.

Wales were beaten 4-0 by the Danes dashing hopes of a repeat of the 2016 success.

  • Watch highlights of Wales' defeat to Denmark here

Fans and Aaron Ramsey (R) after the defeat to Denmark. Credit: PA

After the match, Gareth Bale promised never to quit Wales as long as he is playing football.

Bale walked out on a TV interview when he was asked about his future, but later declared his love of representing his country.