Finally. The match that has been a stand out on the domestic fixture list for the last 7(seven) months is here. England take on Wales today. But will there even be a game?
Of course there will although the morning after the night before, with 36 more arrests after further trouble and tear gas, could UEFA come anywhere close to their threat of sending Russia and / or England home?
Russia going down to Slovakia yesterday has aided their chance of a natural return home but, surely, England will have too much in the tank for the Welsh? Qualification for the second round a certainty. I don’t predict much but I’m predicting this. 2-1 to England.
“A small number of supporters seem hell bent on getting Roy Hodgson’s team thrown out of EURO 2016.” Not my words but those of news guru Matt Dyson on this morning’s Absolute Radio Christian O’Connell breakfast show. An over reaction or genuine fear?
Fear not helped by Wales manager Chris Coleman predicting the game to be “an old fashioned dust up”. Probably not the best choice of phrase amidst all the fighting talk in the build up to the clash. Again, probably not the best choice of phrase etc etc etc …….
Whatever the cause and whoever is to blame, the scenes we’ve been shown back home are pretty horrific. Billy Grant and Stan Collymore (a pairing I never thought I’d put in the same journalistic related sentence) have been doing their thing over the last few days. Brentford supporters’ Dave and Billy’s Beesotted page continues to pump out the blogs (with their YouTube footage going viral) whilst Stan has been running the gauntlet of ‘supporters’ and accusations of being a ‘snitch’ as his video links on Twitter are starting to take on a life of their own.
There’s not too much else to say today. I have genuine excitement about the game but, at the same time, it is tinged with an uneasy feeling of awkwardness.
Not about Wales winning – although if the reaction is anything like Gareth Bale’s pre-match mind games that will be horrific. Max Boyce and Manic Street Preachers all over the radio; Welsh footballing icons such as Vinnie Jones and Robbie Savage giving it large. Possibly.
Should they win then it will, no doubt, be deserved. Likewise, congratulations offered. But they won’t win.
The awkwardness isn’t even the underlying worry that, with French Police ready to wield the tear gas and Ingerland supporters displaying their penchant for bawling out God Save The Queen in Town Squares, something is going to give. And then UEFA are gong have to make an unpopular decision one way or the other.
No. It’s something worse than that. With an England game just hours away, the ‘alleged’ supporters band will be tuning up and polishing their French horns.
Nobody wants anymore violence, that’s for sure. But if I hear ‘that band’ doing their thing then I won’t be held responsible for my actions.