Welsh get rapturous welcome home after Euro football heroics

Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Welsh star Gareth Bale and his team-mates paraded through the streets of Cardiff packed with an estimated 200,000 fans raucously cheering them on Friday as they returned from their Euro 2016 heroics.

Having exceeded even the wildest dreams of the Welsh — more used to seeing their rugby team triumph — and exposed England’s manifest failings at not even reaching the quarter-finals, the semi-finalists were expecting a good turnout.

However, the squad — minus midfielder Joe Ledley, who had the weightier matter of his wedding this weekend — were taken aback at the massive turnout which saw their bus top parade take far longer than expected from Cardiff Castle to Cardiff City Stadium.

The bus was emblazoned with the phrase “Diolch (Thank you). Together We Are Stronger.”

The Welsh squad — who had already been feted for reaching the Principality’s first major finals since the 1958 World Cup — had earlier landed at the Cardiff Bale Airport, named in the Real Madrid forward’s honour for the day.

The stadium was packed to the brim with 30,000 fans who also had the bonus of Welsh band Manic Street Preachers, who wrote and sang the official Wales Euro 2016 anthem.

Wales will become the top-ranked home nation on the back of their success at the Euros. They are seemingly set to climb into the top six less than five years after being down in 117th position.

Bale, who eventually had to give second best to Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portugal side in the semi-finals, said the fans had been like an extra man.

“To get a welcome like this was incredible. It shows how amazing our fans are,” said the 26-year-old, who scored three goals in the finals.

“The support we’ve had has given us that extra confidence to move on to the next level. Everything we’ve achieved we could haven’t done it without everyone here.

“We fought hard to qualify, all through the games we kept progressing and getting better as a team.

“We knew what we were capable of after getting to France, we said we didn’t want to make the numbers up.”

Bale couldn’t resist a final dig at England, whose come from behind win over the Welsh in the group stage was a false dawn for them as they went out in the last 16 to unheralded Iceland 2-1.

“We wanted to give it a real go – and we got ahead of the English!” said Bale.

They started the competition as big outsiders, but ended up winning a group which contained England, Slovakia and Russia.

Wales then beat Northern Ireland and Belgium, second in the FIFA world rankings, in the knock-out stages before losing to Portugal.

 

25+ Channels With Sports & News
  • Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
  • Watch Premier League, Liga MX, MLS & World Cup
  • Includes ESPN, FOX, Univision, TUDN and more
Favorite Leagues At The Best Price
  • Starting price: $7.99/mo. for Live TV Package
  • Watch Argentine league, Brasileirāo and Copa Libertadores
  • Includes beIN SPORTS, GolTV, TyC Sports and more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
  • Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
  • Features LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, Copa del Rey & more
  • Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
Live TV, Soccer & Originals
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo.
  • Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & more
  • Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
  • Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
  • Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
Get All 3 And Save 30%
  • $13.99/mo. for ESPN+, Disney+ & Hulu
  • Includes Bundesliga, LaLiga, NHL & the home to UFC
  • Features Marvel, Star Wars + shows & movies for your entire family

Leave a Reply

Translate »