Pride guys of both sides show how stirring it can be
DID you hear the one about the Scotsman who went into a bar?
He would have been with an Englishman, an Irishman, and a Welshman – but they were all at the Euros! Or so it goes.
That says it all really in these turbulent times. And particularly in Paris yesterday.
Seeing Wales and Northern Ireland fighting for a place in the quarter finals – and the pride and passion that surrounded their efforts – showed how great it can be to be British, no matter what some might suggest right now.
No politics, no recriminations, just no-holds-barred football, made in Britain. More of the same – but hopefully of a higher standard – may well be on the cards when England take on Iceland tomorrow night.
If that Euro referendum was frighteningly historic, this was also history in the making. A little piece of Britain in Europe and the first time two home nations had faced each other in a major international tournament.
To see Gareth Bale singing his heart out when they played Land Of My Fathers was probably as poignant as it gets at this particular moment in time. The Irish lads’ rendition of God Save The Queen wasn’t far behind.
Let’s be honest, the football was never going to match the emotions. Too much at stake for that, as an unusually tentative Wales showed.
But the irony about the proceedings was that, apart from Bale and Aaron Ramsey for Wales and Jonny Evans for the Irish, hardly any of these players have performed seriously in Europe, let alone voted to come out of it.
Yet the resolve and commitment from them made up for the technical deficiencies and nervousness. National pride was paramount, on and off the pitch.
The Irish surprised us a bit, particularly in a first half that often looked like two prize fighters shadow boxing. The Irish came into this one as the underdogs,