Gareth Bale says Wales are realistic but confident going into Euro 2020 as the Dragons look to replicate their semi-final exploits from France five years ago
Gareth Bale admits Wales will carry a dose of realism as the Dragons try to repeat their Euro 2016 success this summer.
Bale and his company lit up the European Championship in France five years ago, when Wales became the smallest country by population to reach the semi-finals before losing to eventual winner Portugal.
Chris Coleman’s side returned as national heroes with thousands of people lining the streets of Cardiff to greet them after the country’s first appearance at a major tournament in 58 years.
Gareth Bale says Wales squad are realistic about their prospects of going to Euro 2020
Wales would love to replicate their stunning feats of the Euro 2016 semi-final in France
“We would like to imitate it, but we are realistic,” said skipper Bale.
“We know it’s a different tournament with different teams and we also have a very different team than we had.
‘It will be difficult to go against all these top countries.
“But we are confident in our own ability to do what we can do on the pitch, and we will do everything we can to make it as successful as possible.”
Wales are in Group A alongside Italy, Switzerland and Turkey.
Robert Page’s squad will begin their campaign against Switzerland in Baku on June 12, play Turkey in the Azerbaijani capital four days later, and then complete their group match against Italy in Rome on June 20.
There are eight survivors from the squad that reached the Euro 2016 semi-finals – Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Ben Davies, Chris Gunter, Danny Ward, Joe Allen, Jonny Williams and Wayne Hennessey – with 19 of the 26 players having 25 caps or less .
Wales roster gathered, preparing for their opening match with Switzerland in Baku
Seven of the squad are in single figures and unfettered midfielder Rubin Colwill has played just 191 minutes of senior football since his Cardiff debut in February.
Bale said: “They (younger players) know that if they want advice, experience from us or questions we need to answer, we’re here.
“But when the tournament comes, of course there will be stages where we will give some advice and basically use our experience.
“When those times come, I’m sure we’ll all be ready.”
The Wales squad spent last week at a warm-weather training camp in Portugal’s Algarve.
They now head to Nice to play France on Wednesday for a final warm-up of Euro 2020 against Albania at Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday.
“It was important to train in warm weather,” Bale said.
“It’s getting hot in Azerbaijan and it was great to work hard and get the guys together.
“We had a little fun, but it was serious business at the same time.”
Bale is one of only eight survivors from the squad that played for Wales at Euro 2016