Win or lose the semi-final, Wales will achieve their best ever finish in any major international soccer competition. They do so with one Spurs defender in their side, just as France have one Spurs goalkeeper in their side, but for the team they beat, Belgium have many Spurs players who come back to Tottenham just like their England teammates as players who have experienced great failure. That means 75% of the Tottenham team will be returning with soul-crushing defeats. Ironically, Ben Davies, the Spurs defender is not guaranteed a starting position with Tottenham, which favours the two England and two Belgian defenders.
Davies was crucial to Wales win in their opening game when he made an amazing goal-line clearance against Slovakia that would have seen Wales go behind minutes before Gareth Bale scored the goal that put them into the lead. Yet Ben Davies also will be missing in the semi-final after picking up a yellow card that means he must serve a one game suspension. The loss of Davies and Aaron Ramsey could prove to be costly against Portugal in the semi-final on Wednesday - but Wales also have build tremendous team chemistry to achieve exceptional results. Wales can deservedly be called "Wonderful Wales' just as Iceland deserve to be called "plucky Iceland" - Iceland do have one of the best developed player and coach development systems in the world, which makes Wales success a little more significant.
With Iceland this is a country with a population with half the population of my own own city in Mississauga, which itself is only the 6th largest city in Canada. Wales may have 10 times more with a population of 3 million, but that is a population that could conveniently fit into a triangulated corner of London. This makes England's defeat against Iceland all that more galling, especially as the French put the sword through Iceland's hopes of a semi-final place.
What Wales have also achieved is create a great sub-plot in the match up of arguably the world's best footballer in Christiano Ronaldo against Gareth Bale, the world's most expensive player at present - but with the Premier League rolling in billions of dollars, that mark is set to be shattered with player deals this summer across Europe.
Whatever happens on Thursday, the Wales team will go home as heroes, while England and Belgium players will go home with their tail tucked between their legs - and when there are 9 England and Belgium players in the Spurs squad, one fears how these scars with losses against Iceland and Wales will have on these players. It is only in the big competitions that teams discover the character of any player - whether they rise to the occasion or if they let pressure get to them and fold in the process.
That accusation cannot be directed at Wales player Robson-Kanu, and it will leave his current team a bit chastened for letting him go. Instead of pushing hard to resign the player, Reading let Robson-Kanu allow his contract to expire on June 30, only to discover that on July 1st a host of clubs are now interested in signing him for free. Maybe Robson-Kanu made it hard for Reading to extend his contract, but the moment they knew he would be playing in a showcase tournament - they probably still had an opportunity to convince him to extend the contract.
Wales still have the potential to upset Portugal but a certain player called Christiano Ronaldo has been given a bigger stage to finally help Portugal to win an international competition and the extra motivation is the Ronaldo-Bale story. Until that match proves itself as a classic as the Wales-Belgium game was, it is worth reliving the Wales vs Belgium result which means Tottenham player Ben Davies comes back to Spurs as one of the rare successful players at these Euro's: