Sport award 2017 winner
The Wales National football team, led by Chris Coleman, reached the semi-final of the EURO 2016. Not only was this the first time since 1958 that the team had achieved qualification for a major tournament, but they finished top of their group.
Qualification was an achievement in its own right without much thought given to how or what the team’s place in EURO 2016 meant. However, hopes were soon raised following the opening match against Slovakia; a 2-1 win for Wales with a goal from Bale’s 30 yard free kick and a late goal from Hal Robson-Kanu’s left-foot showed that Wales meant business.
As the tournament went on, the goalposts changed; Wales booked their place in the knockout stages after a dominant victory over Russia in Toulouse to top the group. A 1-0 victory against a passionate Northern Ireland led to what felt like an impossible task; Belgium.
Chris Coleman stated his team had “more to give”; this rang true as Ashley Williams, Hal Robson-Kanu and Sam Vokes found the net in a stunning 3-1 victory in Lille. Unthinkable thoughts rattled around every Wales fan’s mind. They were now just one match away from the final.
A 2-0 defeat to Portugal saw Wales return home, ending what was an enthralling story that captivated not only a nation, but the world.
Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsay were named in the official UEFA EURO 2016 Team of the tournament and the team were second in the goal scoring list (10 goals), with only the eventual runners up scoring more. This was regarded as an outstanding achievement.
The entire squad acted as first class ambassadors for Wales both on and off the pitch and their strapline of “Together Stronger” has inspired the nation and captured worldwide interest.