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Wales Climb to No 11 in FIFA World Rankings

Rooney and Bale

Euro 2016 was certainly not England's finest moment. After scraping through the group stages, they bowed out spectacularly, even by their own now familiar standards, losing 2-1 to Iceland, a country with a population of just 323,000.

In contrast, Wales are celebrating a historic performance in the Euros, reaching the semi-finals, where they lost 2-0 to a Ronaldo inspired Portugal side, the eventual winners of the tournament. Wales put in a sterling performance overall throughout the tournament and the nation should be very proud of the team.

With the contrast in performances between Wales and England so vast, it bring us to question exactly what has gone wrong for England this year? And why are Wales performing so much better? As a leading sportswear store, Newitts decided to investigate this further.

Wales have more pride and passion

It was reported that Gareth Bale said quite early on in the tournament, before Wales were due to play England, that Wales had more pride and passion than their opponents. Despite Roy Hodgson and his team strongly denying this was the case, a distinct lack of pride and passion was felt at England's closing game against Iceland - crestfallen players on the pitch at the final whistle indicated the players felt hard done by. There is no doubt that the England team were a group of highly talented individuals, but they lacked the togetherness, unity, organisation and fearlessness to win.

Wales have Gareth Bale

Wales have one of the golden gems of the football world in Gareth Bale. Currently (but perhaps not for long) the most expensive player in the world following his £85m move to Real Madrid and one of the highest paid footballers in the world, Bale has proved his worth in Euro 2016. Pundits have argued that at present, England does not have a star player with Bale's incredible ability. It is his sheer talent that guided Wales into the quarter-finals. Furthermore, Aaron Ramsey has proved his worth during the tournament, demonstrating the finesse, craft and defence-splitting passing required from a mid-fielder. In short, Wales proved that they are much more than a one man team, whilst England lacked a talisman type of player.

Chris Coleman was a stronger manager

Despite being on a £4.1 million salary, Roy Hodgson did not show any indication he was worth of it during the Euro 2016 tournament. Shying away from the media and demonstrating poor tactics and bad decision making on the field, did not earn him any brownie points from the fans. In comparison, Chris Coleman's salary was just £220,000 a year. Coleman did what managers need to do at this level, he took the pressure off the players and galvanised the squad so they had a fantastic team spirit. Hodgson and the FA did nothing but pile more pressure onto the England team.

Wales are more relaxed

As a team, Wales have come across as being more relaxed off the pitch, which in turn has helped them to win matches. Bale has talked of the Wales players as being like mates on holiday, telling the media that when the team are not training then enjoy challenging one another at pool, table-tennis, golf and generally have a laugh together. In comparison, England have come across as being slightly secretive in front of the media, unable to even divulge the results of a darts competition, indicating the team were perhaps a little uptight.

Gary Neville failed to deliver

As Roy Hodgon's number two, England put a lot of faith in Gary Neville, after all, he had the credentials - a big name professional, and ex-Manchester United captain and countless caps for England should surely have been enough to impart some worldly wisdom onto this year's England team. In comparison, Coleman's number two, Osian Roberts, is not a well-known name but played a fundamental role in Wales' Euro success thanks to his genius tactics and commendable coaching skills.

Rooney was not a proper leader

Ashley Williams proved he was a stronger captain than Wayne Rooney. Williams repeatedly demonstrated his leadership skills out on the pitch and has been described by Gareth Bale as, "Our rock... we follow him with whatever he wants or does." In comparison, Rooney's captaincy may have been part of England's problem - in the second-half of the match against Iceland, Rooney should have been demanding the ball and making things happen, but instead, he appeared so ineffective he was substituted - another gaff by Hodgson possibly?

The future ahead.....
It has been reported that the England team have now enlisted the help of ex Rugby World Cup coach Stuart Lancaster, for advice on how to revive their fortunes on the international stage. Lancaster has been chosen as one of a group of experts appointed by the FA to advise on how the England set-up can be vastly improved. The country waits in anticipation to see what's next for the England team - surely the only way is up?

What do you think England need to do to become a force to be reckoned with in their next major tournament?

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