Delayed Gratification: Wales vs Israel

If I had to describe being a Welsh football fan in one word it would be “frustrating”.
Since I started following football in the 90s Wales have been consistently disappointing, failing to qualify for tournament after tournament and suffering some heavy defeats along the way (4-0 to Italy being the one I remember most).
So a recent turn around has been pretty enjoyable, even if I haven’t been able to watch much of the action (if I ran FIFA internationals would have to be on free to view channels), but I’ve kept up as Chris Coleman has lead the team to new heights, and Wales have remained undefeated in their Euro 2016 qualifiers.
Going into the most recent round of matches Wales had gone 6 matches without a loss, which is almost unheard of and possibly a sign of the coming apocalypse. Midweek they beat Cyprus and this meant that a win against Israel would see us qualify for a major tournament for the first time since 1958. Anticipation was high and there was obvious excitement in the air before kick off, was history about to be made.
Now with access to Sky Sports I settled in for the Wales vs Israel match.
How was it?
Frustrating.
Wales were the better team for much of the match, but the Israeli defence did enough to restrain the Welsh attacks. There were a few half chances but Wales didn’t do enough.
It seemed that Wales were a little too desperate, and panicky going forward. Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale both snatched at goal and glory when one more pass might have cut through the Israeli defence and between the posts Marciano handled what came his way comfortably.
Wales knocked the ball about well and pushed forward repeatedly, with moments of skill coming from several players, including Jazz Richards who delivered good service into the box.
You could feel that the focus was on Gareth Bale to step up, as  undoubtedly Wales’s best player. He showed great skill and should have done better from a close range free kick. It must be hard to play when anything less than a superb is considered a disappointment, but Bale did well, almost enough to forgive that man-bun.

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That’s not to say Wales are a one man team, and a large part of their success in qualifiers has been their defence, which has only conceded twice in 8 matches.
At the heart is captain Ashley Williams who was impressive and in control throughout. A sign of how well he did was that I heard Cardiff fans praising him today.

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After all the build up it was a bit of a let down, but a point is a point. All credit to Israel for a solid, gritty performance which hindered Wales from getting the needed win.
There are two more games left and just 2 points will be enough for Wales to go through. Without jinxing it, I think we’ll do it and the party will go ahead, and next summer I’ll be properly invested in a tournament for the first time since Euro 96.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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