News 2 July 2016

Some freaky-parralel reasons Wales might do a Leicester

2 July 2016

I can’t work out if seeing Wales absolutely smash their way to a 3-1 victory over FIFA no. 2 ranked Belgium is making me feel happy (for them) or crappy (as an England fan – never in my memory have we reached a semi). But impressed – definitely. I am certain that I am hugely impressed by the Wales boys and their valiant performances throughout this tournament.

Could Wales complete the year of the underdog by seizing victory in France? There are a few uncanny parallels with the Premier League champions that are making me think they might.

A manager who’s slipped on a few banana skins, but is still here smiling…

When Claudio Ranieri took over Leicester this time last year, there were a fair few WTFs from their fans. In the course of a season, Gary Lineker went from publicly doubting him to promising to take his clothes off on telly for him. Lineker’s doubt was partly down to the fact Ranieri was humiliated as Greece manager when he lost to the 187th world ranked Faroe Islands. Similarly, a few years ago, many were calling for Chris Coleman’s head as Wales were embarrassed 6-1 at the hands of Serbia. Both managers bear bruises having been around the European manager mill a few times, but both have kept their resilience and positivity, with an air of the inspirational about them. And they have both had a tendency to tinker remarkably well in their relative competitions this season.

An understated but rock solid centre captain back that would header a bowling ball if required…

Neither Ashley Williams nor Wes Morgan are their teams best player, technically, and neither grab many headlines on a match-by-match basis. However, both men are leaders in their own right, both have been rock solid for the team they captain, both would take a Ronaldo free-kick to the nuts repeatedly for their team, and both, when interviewed, display that glint of determination in their eye that makes you think “they just might do this.”

A couple of starbwoys but a batch of happy astronomers…

Both Wales and Leicester have stand-out players. For Wales, Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey. For Leicester, Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante. Those stars have produced stand-out moments in their relative competitions. Those Bale free-kicks; that Vardy volley. However, just as pivotal to the team have been a crew of understated workmen, happy to live in the shade of the headline-grabbers. We’re talking about the Robert Huths and Danny Simpsons for Leicester, and the Joe Ledleys and Chris Gunters for Wales. These players are happy to graft away in a supporting role, and all seem driven to perform at their best.

The Salt and Lineker seal of approval…

It sort of comes with the territory when you are the overachieving underdog, but the success of both teams has gained them a lot of love from the football neutral. Gary Lineker is in many ways the talisman of the British football fan. He was behind Leicester – well, obviously. But he now seems pretty damn excited about the prospect of a Welsh upset. Gary’s rooting for ‘em, so we’re rooting for ‘em, so let’s ‘ave it!

Crossing the suspension bridge…

Here’s where it gets a little illuminati. Two games before Leicester lifted the title, Jamie Vardy, one of their best players of the season, was suspended for one match. Two games before Wales will potentially lift the European Championship, Aaron Ramsey, one of their best players of the tournament, was suspended for one match. Both suspensions added an extra little obstacle in reaching the end goal. Leicester managed to overcome it, so perhaps Wales can do the same.

GRM Daily

There seems to be something strange in the water this year, and if Leicester can do it, why not the Welsh? It would be an astonishing end to the season of the underdog, in which the little men proved that size isn’t everything. With that being said – dod ar fechgyn!

By SJRip