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Wales national football team

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The Wales national football team (Welsh: Tîm pêl-droed cenedlaethol Cymru) represents Wales in international football. It is controlled by the Football Association of Wales (FAW), the governing body for football in Wales and the third-oldest national football association in the world, founded in 1876.

The team has qualified for the FIFA World Cup once, in 1958, when they reached the quarter-finals before losing to eventual champions Brazil. They then went 58 years before reaching their second major tournament, when – following a rise of 109 places from an all-time low of 117th to a peak of 8th in the FIFA World Rankings between August 2011 and October 2015[4][5] – they qualified for UEFA Euro 2016, where they reached the semi-finals before again losing to the eventual champions, Portugal. A second successive UEFA European Championship followed when Wales reached the round of 16 of UEFA Euro 2020. They also progressed through UEFA Euro 1976 qualifying to the quarter-finals, though this was played on a two-legged, home-and-away basis and is not considered part of the finals tournament.

Historically, the Welsh team has featured a number of players from Wales' top club teams, Cardiff City and Swansea City. These two Welsh clubs play in the English league system alongside fellow Welsh clubs Newport County, Wrexham and Merthyr Town. However, the majority of Welsh football clubs play in the Welsh football league system. Wales, as a country of the United Kingdom, is not a member of the International Olympic Committee and therefore the national team does not compete in the Olympic Games.

Wales played its first competitive match on 25 March 1876 against Scotland in Glasgow, making it the third-oldest international football team in the world. Although the Scots won the first fixture 4–0, a return match was planned in Wales the following year, and so it was that the first international football match on Welsh soil took place at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham, on 5 March 1877. Scotland took the spoils winning 2–0. Wales' first match against England came in 1879, a 2–1 defeat at the Kennington Oval, London, and in 1882, Wales faced Ireland for the first time, winning 7–1 in Wrexham.

The associations of the four Home Nations met at the International Football Conference in Manchester on 6 December 1882 to set down a set of worldwide rules. This meeting saw the establishment of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to approve changes to the rules, a task the four associations still perform to this day. The 1883–84 season saw the formation of the British Home Championship, a tournament which was played annually between England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, until 1983–84.[6] Wales were champions on 12 occasions, winning outright seven times whilst sharing the title five times.

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