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This evening, Wales try to continue their extraordinary advance in the 2016 Euros. After beating Northern Ireland last Saturday, this evening we take on Belgium for a place in the semi-finals. Should we win, we will face Portugal who beat Poland last night on penalties after a 1-1 scoreline after extra time. The match is being played in Lille, and kick-off is at 20:00 BST (19:00 GMT). We were in the same qualifying group as Belgium for these Euros, so we have already played them home and away in the last 18 months. We beat them in Cardiff, and drew 0-0 in Brussels. So, we should nothing to fear going into this game.

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Wales play Belgium this evening for a place in the semi-finals of the 2016 Euros. Kick off is at 20:00 BST (19:00 GMT).

After the spectacular exit of England on Monday evening to Iceland, Wales are the only country from the British Isles left in the tournament. Of course, the London-based media have been dominated with the post-mortem of how England could lose to a country as small as Iceland, which has nicely taken the attention away from Wales as we prepare for our biggest match in 58 years.

I think this evening will be a tough test, but Wales have nothing to lose. We have already exceeded our expectations, so we should go into this game with a positive attitude and see what the evening brings. Let’s just hope Gareth Bale is at his best, he certainly has performed superbly for Wales during this tournament so far.

 

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We may have voted to leave the EU, a disappointment from which it will take me a long time to recover, but Wales are still in the 2016 Euros. On Saturday evening we beat Northern Ireland 1-0 to advance to the Quarter Finals. The dream is still alive, and Wales, who have never been in the Euros before, are now in the last eight. In the Quarter Finals we will meet Belgium, who were in the same qualifying group as us. We beat them in our home game, and held them to a draw in the away game. So, we should not be afraid of them.

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Wales beat Northern Ireland 1-0 on Saturday to advance to the Quarter Finals. We play Belgium in Lille on Friday at 20:00 BST (19:00 GMT)

Belgium advanced to the Quarter Finals with an emphatic 4-0 win over Hungary, and certainly they looked very good. The Wales win over Northern Ireland was much more scrappy, but although Northern Ireland are not the most attacking of teams they are also a very difficult team to break down, as we discovered.

Wales are already in dreamland, but it is far from inconceivable that we can beat Belgium. If we do, we would play either Portugal or Poland in the semi-finals. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. One game at a time. We first need to beat Belgium, and we showed in qualifying for the Euros that we can do that.

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After the heartbreak of the Brexit vote yesterday, at least I can look forward to some exciting sport today. It is not often that, with a big rugby match on the same day as a football match, that I would choose to blog more about the football, but today is  not an ordinary day. Later today, at 17:00 BST (16:00 GMT), Wales take on Northern Ireland in the round  of 16 of the 2016 Euros. As I have mentioned in previous blogposts, Wales have never been in the Euros before, so getting to the Quarter Finals would be a wonderful achievement.

Before then, in rugby Wales take on New Zealand in the final test of their three test tour. I really don’t have too much to say about that match; we are expected to lose and the main aim will be to stay within 15-20 points of New Zealand. Such is the gulf between the standard of the two teams. If we can give New Zealand a good match, we can come home thinking the tour has been a qualified success.

More interestingly, at 11am BST Australia v England kicks off in the third test of England’s tour down under. England are 2-0 up in the series, and are going for a white wash. It would be a remarkable achievement should they do it. Not only will they humiliate Australia, but it will really set down a marker that England are on their way back to being as good as anyone else in world rugby, a position they have not enjoyed since 2003. I am going to be watching that match with more interest than the NZ v Wales match earlier.

But, the real highlight for most Welsh sporting fans today is our 2016 Euros match against Northern Ireland. After our incredible display against Russia, the Welsh team must be full of confidence. We tore Russia apart in a 3-0 victory, not only ensuring our advancement to the knock-out rounds, but also we finished top of Group B after England failed to beat Slovakia.

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Wales take on Northern Ireland later today in the 2016 Euros. Kick off is at 17:00 BST (16:00 GMT). Neither team has been this far in the Euros before, for Wales it is our first time ever in the Euros.

Certainly expectation is higher of our beating Northern Ireland in the football than it is of beating New Zealand in the rugby. The Welsh football team are playing full of confidence, and if we can play anything like as well as we did against Russia I cannot see us not advancing to the Quarter Finals. Fingers crossed.

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After the disappointment of losing to England 2-1 last Thursday (16 June), Wales bounced back last night to defeat Russia 3-0 and finish top of Group B in the 2016 Euros. We were helped in finishing top by England having a 0-0 draw with Slovakia in their final game. What a remarkable achievement for Wales; it is our first time in a major championship since 1958 and we finish above our noisy neighbour.

Wales were simply majestic last night, we thoroughly deserved to win and it could have been by 5 or 6 and not just 3. We attacked from the start, and were 1-0 up by 11 minutes thanks to a fantastic goal by Aaron Ramsey. By 20 minutes it was 2-0, with Neil Taylor scoring his first goal since 2010 in any match!


It was 2-0 at half-time, but Wales continued to attack in the 2nd  half. It was possibly inevitable that our talisman, Gareth Bale, would make it 3-0 with a beautifully taken goal in the 68th minute. Although Russia had a few chances, they really didn’t trouble the Welsh defence too much. I would imagine their coach and team will be sent to a Gulag camp by Vladimir Putin.

By winning our group, Wales now have a much easier path to the Quarter Finals. On Saturday (25 June) we will play the 3rd place team in either group A,C or D. England, by finishing 2nd,  will meet the runner-up of Group F.

I could not be more proud of my little country. Well done Wales, let’s now continue to play attacking football, win on Saturday and reach the quarter finals.

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Later today (Thursday 16 June), Wales take on England in the group stages of the 2016 Euro competition. Kick off is at 14:00 BST (13:00 GMT). In football, that is! I don’t think I have blogged about a Wales international football match in a long time, even though I do blog about club football from time to time.

This is the first international football tournament that Wales have qualified for since the 1958 World Cup! In that tournament we reached the quarter finals before being knocked out by Brazil, who went on to win the whole thing. But, since then, we have not qualified for either a World Cup or a Euro competition, it has been 58 years of hurt and disappointment. That is, until now.

Yes, unlike in rugby where we can compete with the best, in football Wales have not had much success at international level. But, with Gareth Bale (the most expensive player in world football) our talisman, it seems that anything is possible, and we find ourselves in the Euro 2016 tournament.

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Wales take on England in their second match of the group states of the Euro 2016 tournament. The game is being played in Lens. I am backing Wales to cause an upset and beat England!

We are in the same group as England, Russia and Slovakia. Today we play our second match of the three in the group stages, against England. Of course the British (English) press has given Wales no chance at all of winning this match, but I would not be surprised if we do create an upset. We shall have to see, because after the first round of games Wales sit at the top of Group B, having beaten Slovakia 2-1. England drew 1-1 with Russia, so maybe England will go into today’s match against us feeling a little nervous.

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Wales at top of Group B after the opening round of matches. We beat Slovakia 2-1, whereas England drew 1-1 with Russia.

So, Wales have it all to play for. If we beat England today, not only will it be a bloody nose for our larger neighbour (England’s population is twenty times Wales’ population); but it will mean that we have almost certainly qualified for the knock-out stages, and it will also mean that England could fail to qualify. That is called a win-win-win situation!

Come on Wales / Dere ‘mlaen Cymru!!!!!!!!

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The rumours seem to have been true. José Mourinho is going to be at Old Trafford next year. Or, at least, that is what the BBC is saying. But both Manchester United and José Mourinho are, so far, refusing to confirm what now seems inevitable.

 

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José Mourinho looks set to replace Louis Van Gaal at Manchester United, although no official announcement has yet been made.

 

As a number of people have been saying with tongue in cheek, what could possibly go wrong?! We shall see, but having the special one back in the English Premier League certainly adds to the entertainment value; his press conferences are usually great listening. His success will be determined by whether he can return Man U to their former glory, particularly in the Premier League and the Champions League.

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Tomorrow (Sunday 15 May) sees the final day of the English Premier League. Unlike every other weekend, when matches are spread out over Saturday, Sunday and Monday, on the final weekend all matches kick off on the Sunday at 3pm.

Leicester City have already won the Premiership title, which is a refreshing change and a remarkable achievement. Last season, Leicester were struggling to avoid relegation, and only a few years ago, in the 2008-09 season, they were in the third tier division (confusingly known as League One). From 2009 to 2014 they were in the second tier (the Championship), gaining promotion to the Premier League at the end of the 2013-14 season. Since the inception of the Premier League in the 1992-93 season, Leicester are only the second team outside of the ‘big four’ (Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal) to win the Premiership title; the other time was Blackburn Rovers in 1993-94.

Some of you may know that the team I support is Chelsea, who as defending title holders have had a terrible season. They look set to finish 9th, although if they lose and Stoke win they could finish 10th. Even if Swansea City win and Chelsea lose, Chelsea’s goal difference is so much better than Swansea’s (16 better) that it is nigh on impossible for Swansea to finish above them.

Fittingly, Leicester City play their final game of the season at Chelsea, last year’s champions. Another twist to this story is that Leicester’s popular manager, Claudio Ranieri, was Chelsea’s manager from the 2000-01 season until the end of the 2003-04 season, when he was replaced by José Mourinho. I expect both the team and Ranieri will receive a good reception at Stamford Bridge. Mourinho, of course, started this season as the Chelsea manager on his second spell at the club, but after a string of disastrous results he left in December 2015, and Chelsea have been managed since by interim manager Guus Hiddink.

But, probably the  most intriguing story of this weekend will be whether it is Manchester City or Manchester United who finish in 4th place and get the last Champions League spot. Manchester City play away at Swansea, and Manchester United have a home game against Bournemouth. Man U not only need to win their match, but they need Man City to lose to Swansea in order to finish 4th. If Man City draw and Man U win, both teams will finish on 66 points, but Man City have a much better goal difference. On paper, Man U should beat Bournemouth. Although Swansea are down in 11th place, they have won their last two games, so will be no push over for Man City. It is conceivable that Man U will get the dream results that they crave. 

 

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Leicester City were crowned as champions a few weeks ago, and last year’s champions Chelsea cannot finish higher than 9th, and could finish as low as 10th. The big fight tomorrow is which team in Manchester will get the coveted 4th place spot.

Should Man U fail to finish in 4th I anticipate that their manager, Louis van Gaal, will be sacked. They are in the final of the FA Cup, but this competition has become so much less valued in the last decade or so that I don’t think winning it will save his job. If, on the other hand, Man U do get 4th place then I think van Gaal will hang on to his job, even though he is quite unpopular with the fans. Since Mourinho was sacked from Chelsea in December there have been persistent rumours that he would be replacing van Gaal at Old Trafford. We shall have to wait and see.

Whether it is Man U or Man City who fail to qualify for the Champions League, it will be deemed a disaster for the club that misses out. Man U have the most prolific record of any English team over the last few decades, and Man City have won the Premier League title twice in the last few seasons, and this year got as far as the semi finals of the Champions League. The rivalry between the two Manchester clubs has been intense over the last few seasons, but this weekend one side of the city is going to be very disappointed and the other side will be relieved, if not elated. 

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