England manager Roy Hodgson’s criticism of Gareth Bale has stirred up emotions ahead of the Euro 2016 Battle of Britain.
Violence in the streets and stadium rather than the action on the pitch have dominated reporting on Group B with both England and Russia facing possible expulsion from the tournament by UEFA because of their fans’ behaviour.
Wales sit top of Group B courtesy of their 2-1 win over Slovakia – two points ahead of England and Russia who drew 1-1. Russia take on Slovakia on Wednesday before the big British clash in Lens on Thursday.
HODSGON SLAMS BALE
Hodsgon slammed Bale’s comments after the Galactico said his Welsh side have more pride and passion than their English counterparts.
The England boss labelled Bale’s remarks “disrespectful” and when the Real Madrid man was asked to respond, he said: “I’m not saying England don’t have pride or passion, I’m sure they do. I just feel that we have more. I’m sure they have their opinion that they have more also.
“I just feel, whether it’s football, rugby or whatever sport it is, in Wales we seem to have that next level.”
WALES AIM FOR EURO LAST 16
Wales will qualify for the last 16 and knockout stages if they can overcome England – something they have failed to achieve since 1984 when Mark Hughes struck on his debut to earn a Welsh win.
“It’s been a long time since we beat them,” said Wales’ Aaron Ramsey. “It’s about time we changed that.”
The Arsenal man echoed Bales comments about Welsh pride and passion, adding: “You can see it in all sports, in rugby and things like that, there is always an extra edge with England. We are no different, we are really looking forward to it and getting something out of the game.”
That edge has been sharpened by the media-fuelled spat between Hodgson and Bale, and other players have been unable to resist stoking the flames a little higher.
ENGLAND’s PAPER LIONS
England’s Jack Wilshire – an Arsenal teammate of Ramsey – said: “If you put both teams down on paper, we would win the game.”
“We know them well. We know what their threat is.”
— England (@England) 14 June 2016
But football is played on grass not paper and Bale certainly doesn’t agree with Wilshire – when asked how many England players would make it into the Wales team, he answered with a satisfied smiled: “None.”
Bale added: “We know we’re a good team and know we can beat them on our day.”
The question is: do the top online football tipsters agree? Find out here.
WALES v ENGLAND RECORD
Wales have played England 101 times – the Dragons have managed only 14 wins in all that time, losing 66 and drawing 21.
This is Wales first Euros and their first finals since the World Cup in Sweden in 1958 when they were eliminated by Brazil at the quarter final stage, with Pele scoring the winner.
“Thursday is like a cup final,” said Wales manager Chris Coleman. “Every game to us is a final.”
Beat England tomorrow and Wales will be in the knockout stages, leaving Hodgson’s men on the verge of elimination and a likely return to Blighty with time to spare to vote in the Brexit referendum.
By: Joe Cahal