Just like Iceland, Wales’ Euro 2016 finish line came all too abruptly for their flock of fans, both long-serving and newly acquired. But thanks to their fairytale exploits in France, they depart with their heads held high.
A 2-0 loss to Portugal was not the way the Dragons would have wanted to sign off this summer. It was an anomaly of a performance during a tournament in which their desire and passion shone through.
Naturally, their shining star, Gareth Bale, was the focus throughout. He was supported by the side’s other senior players, Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen and Ashley Williams among them. There was also a headline-grabbing moment of genius from Hal Robson-Kanu.
All of them will likely be back in red shirts, bidding to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, before long. The question is; will their manager be with them?
Chris Coleman has seen his stock rise exponentially during these Euros.
Links to England’s managerial vacancy serve as the perfect measure of the job the 46-year-old has done. That he would be unquestionably better off staying with Wales speaks volumes for his success.
The only danger threatening Welsh chances of keeping hold of Coleman perhaps comes from club level. A calling Premier League club could give the former Fulham manager quite the decision to make, but at present opportunities are scarce.
The chance to manage hometown club Swansea would arguably pique Coleman’s interest most. After the Swans nailed down Francesco Guidolin as their permanent boss following a successful interim period, that appears a distant dream at the moment.
Instead, it’s quite likely that Coleman will relish the chance to qualify for Russia in two years time.
Wales are drawn in a tough-ish qualifying group alongside Austria, Serbia and the Republic of Ireland, but will be supremely confident of progressing following this Euros adventure.
At a price of 2/1 to win their mini league, we make the Dragons the favourites in Group D and with Coleman on the sidelines their chances will certainly be in good hands.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.