Posts Tagged ‘Gareth Bale’

As I mentioned on Thursday, Wales were playing two matches over the last few days as part of their qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup. On Thursday we played Austria away, and yesterday (Sunday 9 October), we played Georgia at home. Both matches ended in draws, we drew 2-2 with Austria and 1-1 with Georgia. It is a mark of the raised expectations amongst Welsh fans that both results were disappointing.

In Austria we were twice ahead, but after Austria levelled the game at 2-2 they looked the better team for much of the second half. The same was true against Georgia yesterday, after going 1-0 up through a Gareth Bale goal we were pegged back to 1-1 early in the second half, and after levelling the match it was Georgia who looked the better team.


Wales drew 1-1 with Georgia yesterday evening, in a disappointing display which saw us hanging on in a second half dominated by Georgia.

Upon reflection, an away draw to Austria is not a bad result, I think the disappointment at not winning was due to our being ahead twice and because of our fantastic run in Euro 2016. But, to not beat Georgia at home is definitely a poor result, and I expect the Welsh media to be full of inquisitions in the coming week as to why we performed so poorly.

The Wales manager, Chris Coleman, will be disappointed with the way we failed to dominate Georgia. It is a match we very much should have won, and yet for the last 20 minutes we were hanging on to keep it to a draw. Our next match is home against Serbia on 12 November, and hopefully we will have Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen back, as yesterday we certainly felt the absence of the two of them.

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Later tonight Wales will take on Austria in their second qualifying match for the 2018 World Cup. Kick off is at 19:45 BST (18:45 GMT). Building on the success of getting to the semi-finals of Euro 2016, Wales kicked off their qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup with an emphatic 4-0 home win against Moldova. We follow tonight’s away match against Austria with a home game on Sunday (9 October) against Georgia.


Tonight Wales take on Austria in the 2nd qualifying match for the 2018 World Cup.

Wales have only qualified once before for the World Cup, in 1958. As you would expect, with such a successful run in the Euro 2016 competition, expectations are high that we can qualify again this time around. Unfortunately, Aaron Ramsey will be absent for these two upcoming games, and I have read that there is a dispute going on between Wales manager Chris Coleman and Ramsay’s Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger as to when he will be available for Wales.

I hope that it will be soon, as on Saturday 12 November we will have our 4th qualifying match, a home game against Serbia. Ramsey was instrumental in our run to the semi-finals in Euro 2016, and we certainly felt his loss when he was barred from competing in the semi-final match against Portugal due to having picked up two yellow cards in previous matches.

Thankfully all other first-choice players are fit, an  important thing for Wales as we do not have as much strength-in-depth as many countries. Gareth Bale is fit and will hopefully be in the same form as he was against Moldova when he scored two goals. Dere ‘mlaen Cymru!!! (Come on Wales!!!)

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After last weekend’s matches we now know the line-up for the Euro 2016 semi-finals. This evening (Wednesday 6 July) at 20:00 BST (19:00 GMT) Wales play Portugal, then tomorrow evening (Thursday 7 July) the hosts France take on the World champions Germany.


Wales play Portugal this evening (Wednesday), France play Germany on tomorrow (Thursday). Both matches start at 20:00 BST (19:00 GMT)

Wales’ match against Portugal is in Lyon, whilst the second semi-final is in Marseille. We in Wales are incredulous that we’ve got to the semi-finals, but we are also grateful to be facing Portugal and not France or Germany.

Of the teams to reach the semi-finals, Portugal have been by far the least impressive. They qualified 3rd in their group with three drawn matches. Then, in the round of 16, they only beat Croatia 1-0 in extra time. In the quarter finals they beat Poland, but this time only on penalties with it being 1-1 after extra time.

Of course, any team that has Cristiano Ronaldo in its ranks cannot be written off. With his brilliance he can turn a game around in a flash. But the contrast with Gareth Bale is interesting. Both play for Real Madrid, both are the stars of their teams, but there the similarities end. Bale is a team player, down to earth and a very popular member of the squad. The very opposite of a prima donna. Ronaldo is petulant, greedy and, one gets the impression, does not consider himself ‘one of the lads’. He is like a preening peacock; if he weren’t so brilliant he would surely be universally disliked.

Wales are, of course, riding on a wave of euphoria. The team will be bursting with confidence after our thrilling 3-1 win against Belgium on Friday evening. But, I am also confident that we will not take Portugal for granted. Chris Coleman is far too wily a coach to allow his team to do that. We will be missing midfielder Aaron Ramsey and defender Ben Davies, both suspended after picking up second yellow cards in the match against Belgium. But, we have such a structure  and game plan, which the team all believe in, that I am sure their replacements will step up admirably to to the high standard Ramsey and Davies have set.

It is going to be a very tense countdown to the big match in Wales! Dere ‘mlaen Cymru!!! (come on Wales!!!)

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What an amazing match! We beat Belgium 3-1, and now we are in the semi-finals where we will take on Portugal.

It is like being in a dream. This is the furthest Wales have got in an international football competition. It is the first time we have been in one since the 1958 World Cup, where Brazil knocked us out in the Quarter Finals.

This time we have gone one step further, and Portugal are eminently beatable.

Come on Wales!!!! Dere ‘mlaen Cymru!!!! #togetherstronger

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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Ryan Giggs turned 40 last week, and is still going as strong as ever. Many newspapers celebrated his remarkable career. He has been playing top-class football since the age of 17, playing all his games for Manchester United and Wales. As of the writing of this article, he has appeared an amazing 953 times for Manchester United (including 611 appearances in the Premier League, which is a record), and 64 times for Wales.

I thought I would include links to two of the many many articles that have been written about this remarkable Welshman in the last week. The first is from Wales’ national newspaper, The Western Mail. The link to the actual story is here.

The Western Mail, the national newspaper of Wales, ran several articles celebrating Ryan Giggs turning 40.

The Western Mail, the national newspaper of Wales, ran several articles celebrating Ryan Giggs turning 40.

But, just to show that it is not only the Welsh press who have been celebrating his career, here is a link to a story about Giggs’ enduring career from The Guardian, an English newspaper.

This article, from The Guardian newspaper, celebrates Ryan Giggs' enduring career.

This article, from The Guardian newspaper, celebrates Ryan Giggs’ enduring career.

It will be interesting to see how much longer Giggs carries on playing. Although he has lost a little of his phenomenal pace, he still seems to have the hunger to play top-flight football, and has looked after his body very very well so shows no sign of his body breaking down as so often happens to sports players once they reach their mid 30s. Let us hope that he continues to light up the football stadia of Europe for as long as he still enjoys it.

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