In sealing qualification for the 2016 UEFA European Championship, Chris Coleman’s warriors have written their names in the national history books as the Welsh Dragons look ahead to their first major tournament in 57 years.

After finishing second behind Belgium and four points ahead of third placed Bosnia in qualifying Group B, Wales still have a long way to go before they can be affiliated with the title of a football nation.

Chris Coleman initially named a 29-man provisional ensemble ahead of their pre-tournament friendlies before facing Slovakia on June 11th in their first group game of the tournament.

Coleman faced a tough task as six players were axed to form a final 23-man shortlist ahead of the summer tournament.

Gareth Bale was an obvious omission from the pack; the 26-year-old will carried out club duties on and up to the 28th of May when Real Madrid lined up against city rivals, Atletico Madrid, in the UEFA Champions League final.

Wales’ talisman found the net seven times across the ten qualifying games and finished joint top goal scorer in the group with Bosnian hit man, Edin Dzeko, including the only goal of the home tie against Belgium.

Shaun McDonald (AFC Bournemouth), Andrew Crofts (Gillingham), Tom Bradshaw (Walsall) and Lloyd Isgrove (Southampton) were the most notable absentees from the squad and have all been part of recent Wales squads. McDonald, in particular, has not been given enough playing time under Eddie Howe in the Cherries’ maiden Premier League season and will be disappointed to miss out.

Aaron Ramsey has come under fire from the Arsenal faithful on a number of occasions this season but has been nothing short of a hero for the national side. The midfielder netted twice in Wales’ qualifying campaign and both proved to be decisive, getting his side first off the mark in a 2-0 home win over Andorra and a 3-0 away triumph over Israel.

Birmingham City winger, David Cotterill, secured his place in the final shortlist after impressing in the late stages of the season, scoring twice in the Blues’ final three league fixtures.

The Dragons’ attack is regularly spearheaded by the boisterous Hal Robson-Kanu and Coleman will be pleased to hear of the Reading forwards’ recovery after suffering a minor injury in April. Robson-Kanu has registered five goals and six assists in all domestic competitions from wide positions and was one of only four Wales players to hit the mark in qualifying.

Joe Allen and Andy King have started just 17 games between them in the Premier League this season and will be ready to fly out of the traps if called into action. Allen, particularly, was a key figure in the qualifiers and will likely line-up against Slovakia in the Wales’ opener.

promo268588160Nine of the 11 Welsh qualifying goals were of Bale and Ramsey’s doing, and an injury to one of the two could prove diabolical to Coleman’s regime who has adopted a 5-3-1-1 formation throughout the last two years. Bale’s ability to stretch defences and ticket to roam where he may please is something that Wales cannot replace and without him, you can rip up your slip for Welsh to progress to the knockout phases.

Wales have completed an incredible milestone to qualify and could progress from the group stage with fellow British hopefuls, England, if they play to their potential.

Twelve years ago, the bookies placed Greece at a 150/1 punt to win the 2004 European Championship. EveryFan make Wales a 90/1 punt to coronate this years competition, is that worth a bet? Stranger things have happened.