Mails: On the best night in Wales’ history

Date published: Saturday 2nd July 2016 10:40

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Well done
Best night for British football since 1966.

I wish I was Welsh right now, and that’s not a statement I thought I would ever say.
Jamie Bedwell


…England I hope to God in heaven you watched that? Wales? F**king incredible!


Does this mean England are sort of champions…?
So Wales reached the semis. And we beat Wales. Should i be more proud of being English, or even more ashamed?

I’m going with ashamed. Anyway, after Scotland and NI do one, maybe we can combine England and Wales into one entity and call our country Waleland.

Silly name, and we would likely have to bribe Wales to join us pathetic losers, but it would be worth it.
David W


…Or that we shouldn’t worry?
So, Wales qualified for the semi finals of the Euros last night. A fantastic performance and thoroughly deserved. In my book they stand a good chance of getting through to the final too against a lacklustre Portugal side.

What makes it all the more interesting is, bar one, all of the players are playing in the same league, coached by the same coaches, coming through the same academies, suffering the same lack of winter break, scrutinized by the same media, managed by a coach who had minimal success in club football…. I think you get what I am driving at.

The sum of their parts etc. It just makes the England performance even more laughable.

As an Irish man, I am delighted for them, and will be backing them all the way now. COYBIR.


…What’s this? Wales restoring my faith in England?

Myths about our supposed lack of technique and tactical nuance. Systemic at British grassroots level?

At least now I know we’re just doomed through appalling mental fragility. What a relief.


And now let the Welsh have their moment
This will not be eloquent. This will not be well written. This will probably not make sense. Despite this I have to write as I need to do something to calm myself down. Absolutely amazing. English fans speak of fifty years of hurt but in that fifty years England at least qualified for stuff. Hurt is actually when something is within touching distance but gets pulled from grasp, agonisingly, at the last minute. Hurt is being ranked 117th in the f*****g world. Hurt is having “experts” questioning whether you should even bother any more and just give up.

This. Feels. Awesome.

Yes, we rode our luck at times but, as has been said quite a few times, we are a team. Together – stronger. It means a lot you know. Having belief in your teammates is a massive thing. Not once did I see the Welsh heads go down. Not after Belgium opened the scoring, not after they started the second half the stronger team. We are greater than the sum of our parts which is the way any football team should be regardless of size or talent. We have lower league players, we have players from ‘lesser’ teams, we have a centre forward who hasn’t even got a club!

We have gone further than anybody thought and feel absolutely no fear about any of the teams left in. Bring it on.

Football. Bloody hell.
Carl (obviously) the Welsh


…I am currently sat at my computer after coming back from watching the game. I left hundreds of people in the town centre singing ‘there’s only one Gary Speed’, crying and hugging, belting out the anthem and dancing into the night. i can still hear them from my window.

It’s a very emotional night but let me summarise;

1) Aside from going behind, wales were dominant. dominant against the 2nd best team in the world.
2) The goals were unbelievable. Vokes’ header was a thing of towering beauty. Kanu’s turn and s**t – mesmerizing. Even Williams’ header was beautifully placed.
3) We have to be favourites in the semi’s after that performance.
4) Want to gear England up for the next tournament? Make them watch that.

a wonderful, wonderful night and a monumental achievement for a country of our size.

That was for you Gary.
Stu AFC Wrexham (iceland in the final then yeah?)


Some conclusions
*Well done Wales. You f**king brilliant Welsh b*stards. Just absolutely marvellous. Dictionary definition of a wonderful team performance.

*The Welsh team had the perfect combination of hard work, moments of luck and some spectacular goals. That they had three Crystal Palace players involved is a nice 21st Century touch, the flavour of trolling.

* Hal Robson-Kanu’s Cruyff turn, and Sam Vokes’s finish, were both worthy of settling any game.

*Similarly, Rajda Nainggolan’s goal didn’t deserve to be on the losing side, even if most of Belgium’s play did.

*A word on Robbie Savage. Don’t worry, I’ve got the bleach ready, but I didn’t think he was as bad as he could have been. He was understandably on cloud nine, but he wasn’t as one-eyed as rugby union’s Welsher in residence Jonathan Davies. Savage several times pointed out refereeing mistakes that benefitted Wales and suggested that on another day Wales could have had a red card (for Ben Davies) and conceded a penalty. It is unlikely that ITV’s pro-England commentator G**** H***** would have suggested England got away with one.

Dean Saunders had a few nice lines as well, including the three Belgian defenders made to look foolish by Robson-Kanu as having “gone for a crepe Suzette”.

*Nick Miller’s piece on Thursday was similar to what I’d put on Facebook on Monday night, that real football fans here can start enjoying the tournament now England have been eliminated. As a neutral watching this, it was a joy to watch.

*Combining qualifying and tournament, only France (2 in tournament, no qualifying) and Italy (5 qualifying, 1 in tournament) have conceded fewer goals in the Euros than Wales among teams still in the tournament. They had Hugo Lloris, a genuine contender to be best goalkeeper in the Premier League, and Gigi Buffon, a genuine contender to be best goalkeeper ever, between their posts. Wales, and I can’t stress this enough, had a Crystal f**king Palace player in goal.

What a world we live in today.
The literary Ed Quoththeraven


Savage was great
Robbie gets a lot of stick (and rightly so) but he has written himself into folklore with his commentary on the 2nd and 3rd goals tonight. Superb stuff. Delighted for Wales.

And nice of BBC to play a bit of You Love Us by the Manics during the montage at the end!
Steve “adopted Welshman”, Glasgow
(MC – This MC actually agrees. Savage is an appalling co-commentator, but his words and emotion for that last goal were bloody superb)


Belgium were baaaaad
Good to see another team making as big a mess of things as England.

Well done Belgium.
Jamie, Leicester


England must abandon the short-term goal
Firstly, congratulations to Wales. I’d been keeping a bottle of Italian Prosecco Superiore that my Welsh buddy down the street brought over for dinner about two years ago for a suitable occasion. We didn’t get to it that night, but it surely was a great half-time talisman for the boys in green/red/white/dragons. Awesome. lloniannau, Chris Askew.

To the point. I work at a large company. We have goals, short term, long term. We plan, we strategise and we execute against those plans. We examine when we come up short and we make adjustments and we go again. We have a critical appraisal every three months when we publish our results to Wall Street. We have an infrastructure that supports everyone working to a common goal. The goal, top to bottom, is clearly stated. The cynics will say that it’s complete bollocks, but – guess what? I work for a large company that keeps getting better, and I, and everyone else, get rewarded for that success.

Now think about the English FA right now. Tell me I’m wrong when I can see the committee sequestered in their ivory tower and laying out the road map for success – they’re going to have a short-term goal (qualify for the World Cup in Russia), a lmedium-term goal (compete in the World Cup in Russia) and a long-term goal (win the World Cup in Qatar). There is no realistic way of achieving those goals, recent and less-recent history as evidence, but they seem to think that, to paraphrase “If we say it, it will come”.

But if they’d get their heads out of their asses they’d realize they have a golden opportunity. English fans and players are nervous about playing or supporting the team in Russia, and I don’t blame them. Putin bribed FIFA for the tournament, and doesn’t give a rat’s ass who knows it. The Russian fans have already show what they’re capable of. Who would want to be there? And then Qatar? Another FIFA corrupt decision. Thousands of immigrant workers killed building the stadia. 135F temperatures. Playing the games at night. What the hell are England doing participating in that?

So, abandon the short-term goal. Who cares if England don’t qualify for Putin’s World Cup? Not me. Take the opportunity to start afresh, appoint a coach who is committed to a long-term plan (or at least will develop a system that someone else can step into and continue), play serious international competition in the qualifying rounds with a young squad and build some momentum. Fail to qualify? Thank you Lord. Take Euro 2020 as the next natural step to development. Go deep in the competition perhaps. Qualify for Qatar and decline the invitation. Then in 2024/2026 you’ve got a squad who have developed community, trust and a will to win. Ten years – no pressure, no expectations. Isn’t that what everyone is always asking for? It’s here for the taking.

Germany took the time back in 2000 to take a step back and regroup. Iceland 20 years ago put a plan in place to develop their 8-year olds and compete. Wales picked a squad and emphasized continuity and team play. Ten of their 11 starters tonight were in the team that played Belgium in the qualifiers. All those moves seem to have worked out pretty well so far.

Of course, we’re dealing with the English FA who will probably increase the cost of coaching badges next year, appoint Sam Allardyce as a way of addressing the “short-term problem”, state that football is “in our DNA” and go back to their yachts, clinking their glasses of Kristal all the way.
Steve (we call it “Team USA” because that’s what it’s called) Los Angeles

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