SEMI-FINALISTS at Euro 2016, Wales find themselves in an unusual position this summer.

No longer the forgotten men of international football, the Welsh squad have been saddled with the task of trying to emulate their nation’s finest footballing hour.

An unknown quantity in France, Wales must prove they can handle a completely different level of expectation this time around.

At least they still have Gareth Bale to inspire them, and having rediscovered something close to his best form in the final months of the season with Tottenham, the Real Madrid playmaker will once again be Wales’ talisman.

Bale’s support cast excelled in France – Aaron Ramsey dinking home against Russia, Hal Robson-Kanu and Sam Vokes dramatically downing Belgium – and if the current crop are to come even close to matching those feats, the load will once again have to be spread beyond Bale’s shoulders.

Aaron Ramsey has suffered another injury-plagued season, but remains an important presence, while Daniel James will hope to shake off his struggles with Manchester United to threaten from the flank.

If Wales are to make it out of a tricky-looking Group A though, they will need some of their emerging talents to shine.

Neco Williams and Ethan Ampadu are already established as key performers, while Cardiff’s Kieffer Moore will start the tournament as Wales’ first-choice striker.

While he might play in the Championship, his physicality alone makes him an awkward opponent.

Wales’ preparations have been far from smooth, with assistant coach Robert Page having to step up to replace Ryan Giggs, who has been charged with causing actual bodily harm to his ex-girlfriend.

Page is a popular figure in the camp, and will hope to recreate the formidable team spirit that helped ignite Chris Coleman’s squad in France.

Wales kick off their Group A campaign in Baku tomorrow against a Switzerland side that will be hoping to shake off their traditional tag as tournament also-rans.

Historically, the Swiss have tended to make it out of their group at World Cups or European Championships, only to fall flat once the knockout stages arrive. For all they will be wanting to improve, that could well prove their fate again.

In fairness, Switzerland made it to the Nations League finals in 2019, losing to England in the third-place play-off, and only lost once in qualifying for the Euros, so they boast a decent international pedigree.

Newcastle United centre-half Fabian Schar is a key part of their defensive set-up, with Premier League duo Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri big influences further up the field.

The Swiss do not really have a reliable goalscorer – a long-term issue – but as ever, they will be durable and hard to break down.

Turkey make up Group A, and having taken four points off France in qualifying, there is a mood of optimism around the Turkish squad, which boasts a smattering of talent from Europe’s top leagues.

Leicester defender Caglar Soyuncu is joined at the back by Juventus’ Merih Demiral, while in attack, Burak Yilmaz is one of Europe’s most in-form forwards after scoring 16 Ligue 1 goals for surprise French champions Lille last season.