Wales' national soccer team is one of the oldest football teams in the world that has made significant progress in recent years. The team has a rich history in international soccer, having appeared in multiple major tournaments.
The Welsh football association was founded in 1876, which makes it the third-oldest behind England and Scotland. However, despite this early establishment, Wales remained inactive for a long time, not taking part in any major tournament for more than 20 years since its inception.
Wales began to make real progress on the international soccer scene during the 1950s when a group of superlative players emerged, including John Charles and Ivor Allchurch. In 1958, they reached their highest-ever position in the World Rankings, securing eighth place.
However, after a promising start, the team slumped heavily over the next few decades and found itself falling further behind other nations in Europe. Wales only qualified for two major tournaments between 1966 and 2014, with an appearance in the 1976 European Championship and the 1958 World Cup quarterfinals.
Since the arrival of Chris Coleman as Head Coach in 2012, there have been notable improvements in the national team's performance. In 2016, the team broke a 58-year drought by qualifying for UEFA Euros, making it to the semifinals, where they were defeated by eventual champions, Portugal.
In addition to their impressive Euro 2016 run, Wales also participated in the 2020 European Championships, making them one of the only 16 teams to compete at the highly prestigious competition. Unfortunately, however, due to back-to-back losses against Italy and Denmark, Wales could not advance beyond the Round of 16.
Though they have not managed to win any international tournament yet, the progress Wales has made prides them on the world stage and has brought successive glimpses of hope for fans to believe in their team—a testament to the hard work and determination of not just the players but also the Coaching Staff, support staff, and the Welsh Football Association.
With young talented players like Harry Wilson, David Brooks, Ben Davies, Daniel James, Ethan Ampadu, and more in the national squad, France 2024 and Qatar 2022 World Cup Qualifiers hold great expectations for Wales. As history suggests, they are expected to take one game at a time, play with pride and passion, and hope to make this upcoming set of matches a milestone again in the country's footballing map.