Wales kick off their Euro 2020 campaign against Switzerland this afternoon with captain Gareth Bale hoping to end his international goal drought.
The Real Madrid forward, who played for Tottenham Hotspur on loan during the last season, was key to Wales’ run to the semi-finals of Euro 2016, but has now gone 11 games for his country without scoring.
“I’m not worried, I know where the back of a net is and hopefully if a chance arises I will be able to take it,” said Bale, who has scored 33 goals in his 92 appearances for Wales.
Wales will play their first two group games, against Switzerland and Turkey, in Baku – the capital of Azerbaijan – before flying to Rome to face Italy, who beat Turkey 3-0 last night in the tournament’s opening fixture.
The Welsh government has advised against travelling due to the pandemic, but hundreds have made the 3,000 mile trip from Cardiff to Baku to support the team.
Azerbaijan is on the UK’s amber list, so they’ll need to self isolate for 10 days on their return.
The Football Association of Wales is running dozens of summer coaching courses for children across the country throughout Euro 2020.
“Lockdown was long and tough, so it’s just brilliant to see how excited the boys and girls are about the Euros,” said Zoe Denman-Ellis, who coaches at Aberdare Town FC in South Wales.
“It’s brilliant for them and the buzz leading up to this game has just been fantastic. We’re all excited and if it’s anything like the last tournament it’s going to be a great few weeks.”
Wales reached the last four of Euro 2016, knocking out Belgium along the way. Robert Page is interim manager, in the absence of Ryan Giggs who is due to stand trial in January on charges relating to his ex-girlfriend and another woman.