As Gareth Bale and his Wales team-mates bade farewell to Euro 2016, a commonly expressed hope was that their achievements in France would represent a beginning and not an end. Having waited 58 years to play at a major tournament, Wales made up for lost time in style, topping their group above England and sinking Belgium in the quarter-finals before falling to Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal. Along the way their songful, good-natured fans won admirers across the continent, leaving the players determined to make sure that they will not have another six decades to wait for their next overseas adventure. “We’ve had a taste of it now and we look forward to the future,” said Real Madrid forward Bale, who set the tone for Wales’s stunning exploits with three goals in the group phase.
As the sun sets on Wales’s unforgettable journey at Euro 2016, some thoughts on what the future holds for their history-making manager and players.