William: Popular Prince Becomes Prince Of Wales

In this file photo, Britain’s Prince William, Duke of Cambridge wears a face mask because of the pandemic as he visits a coronavirus vaccination centre at King’s Lynn Corn Exchange in King’s Lynn, eastern England, on February 22, 2021.  (Photo by Arthur Edwards / various sources / AFP)

 

Prince William, the new Prince of Wales now that his father has become King Charles III, has stepped up to royal duties after the exit of his brother, Harry, and uncle, Andrew.

William has grown up with a strong sense of his future responsibilities, with Charles’s reign inevitably set to be shorter than that of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

And as the new king ages William will have a much more visible public profile, preparing for his later role as king, said Robert Hazell, professor of government and the constitution at University College London.

“William will have to undertake more of the load, so I have no doubt that there will be an increasing share of royal duty that William will assume,” he told AFP.

William, 40, has so far managed to carve a life largely out of the spotlight, taking on military and civilian jobs and as a hands-on father of three with his wife, Catherine, proving popular with the public.

After the queen’s death, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took on Charles’ and his second wife Camilla’s titles of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, and also Duke and Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland.

The couple has become prominent campaigners for mental health.

They have also advocated for protecting the environment and conservation, showing a more modern face to the ancient institution.

“I think that most people think that William and Kate will make a great team and be a great king and queen,” said Phil Dampier, a royal author.

READ ALSO: Queen Elizabeth II Dies At 96

 Born to be king 

In this file photo, Britain’s Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, (L), Britain’s Prince Andrew, Duke of York, (2R), and Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, (R) follow the coffin during the ceremonial funeral procession of Britain’s Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh to St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle in Windsor, west of London, on April 17, 2021.(Photo by Gareth Fuller / POOL / AFP)

 

From his birth on June 21, 1982, William Arthur Philip Louis Mountbatten-Windsor was destined to be king. Harry — the “spare” to William’s “heir” — came along two years later.

But both boys were treated the same in terms of education, with nannies and then boarding school from the age of eight.

He was just 10 when his parents separated, leading to their divorce in 1996, and was 15 when his mother, Princess Diana, was killed in a car crash in 1997.

An enduring image of the young boys was at their mother’s funeral, when they walked, heads bowed, through the streets of London behind her funeral cortege to Westminster Abbey.

The brothers have always spoken warmly of their mother, and as a young man, William, with his blond hair, bore a striking resemblance to her, earning him pin-up status.

William once recalled his mother singing along to Tina Turner’s hit “(Simply) The Best” in the car to raise their mood as they returned to a new term at school.

He also jumped to her defence when a 2021 inquiry found the BBC had tricked her into agreeing to a bombshell 1995 television interview where she admitted adultery.

He has also not been afraid to speak his mind and answered tersely when asked about brother Harry’s claims of royal racism.

“We are very much not a racist family,” he told reporters.

Music and football 

William has yet to respond publicly to Harry’s claim that he and their father are “trapped” by convention.

But it is clear he appreciates the need to portray himself as a safe pair of hands to ensure the monarchy’s future survival.

He has given few in-depth media interviews and with Catherine, a keen amateur photographer, they have sought to control the narrative through social media.

The family’s 2021 Christmas card showed their relaxed style, posing in a desert landscape in Jordan with William and Catherine’s hands casually placed on each other’s knees.

He has given snippets of his eclectic taste in music ranging from English band Coldplay to Australian hard rock band AC/DC.

While at the prestigious Eton school, he declared a love for Aston Villa, choosing the unfashionable Birmingham club because he “wanted to have a team that was more mid-table that could give me more emotional rollercoaster moments”.

He became president of the Football Association in 2006 and has been a regular at England games, but also participates in upper-class pursuits such as polo and grouse-shooting.

William and the then Kate Middleton first met at the University of St Andrews in Scotland and their relationship blossomed after he spotted her modelling at a student fashion show.

While Harry became known as a party prince, William forged a more wholesome image. The couple married in 2011.

William became a Royal Air Force search-and-rescue helicopter pilot for three years, living in a farmhouse in rural northwest Wales with Kate and their first child, George.

Enhanced profile 

The family then moved to Norfolk in eastern England, where William took on the civilian role of air ambulance pilot in 2015.

He has said this also involved traumatic experiences, trying to help people who were “at death’s door”.

In 2017, William left his job to become a full-time royal, shuttling between London and Norfolk, where they have a home on the sprawling royal estate in Sandringham.

During the coronavirus lockdown, William said he and Kate shared the schooling duties of their two eldest children, George and Charlotte, and their struggles with basic maths.

William’s enhanced profile developed after the queen’s health declined, Harry quit royal life, and their uncle was stripped of his role due to a US civil case for sexual assault that he eventually settled out of court.

AFP

Wales Spoil Ukrainian Dreams To Reach First World Cup In 64 Years


Wales’ striker Gareth Bale (C) celebrates with teammates after winning the FIFA World Cup 2022 play-off final qualifier football match between Wales and Ukraine at the Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, south Wales, on June 5, 2022. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Gareth Bale led Wales to their first World Cup since 1958 as Ukraine’s dreams of lifting the spirits of a war-torn country were cruelly denied by a 1-0 defeat in Cardiff on Sunday.

Bale’s free-kick, which was turned into his own net by Ukrainian captain Andriy Yarmolenko, separated the sides despite the visitors dominating the game in sodden conditions at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Ukraine made a nation proud in beating Scotland 3-1 on Wednesday in their first competitive clash since Russia’s invasion.

Oleksandr Petrakov’s men deserved much more from another exceptionally composed performance under the strain of carrying the hopes of a people devastated by Russian aggression.

The Ukrainian national anthem was applauded by all sides of the stadium before the game and, just as on their trip to Scotland in midweek, the visitors were inspired rather than inhibited by the pressure put upon them.

However, they were made to pay an exceptionally heavy price for not taking their chances and one moment of misfortune.

Oleksandr Zinchenko did find the net after just three minutes, but the Manchester City man was deemed to have taken his free-kick that caught Wayne Hennessey off guard too quickly.

Hennessey then had to be alert to prevent Roman Yaremchuk opening the scoring before Viktor Tsygankov sliced a glorious chance wide.

Wales had barely threatened the Ukrainian goal, but in Bale have a star capable of changing the course of matches in an instant.

The 32-year-old is without a club having brought down the curtain on nine years at Real Madrid by picking up a fifth Champions League winner’s medal last weekend.

Bale has reserved his best for international duty in recent years and will now get the chance to add a World Cup to a glorious career.

His free-kick on 34 minutes was headed off target until Yarmolenko tried to head it to safety and only succeeded in deflecting the ball past the helpless Georgiy Bushchan.

Ukraine refused to be crushed by that misfortune and were unlucky not to be given a penalty before half-time when Yarmolenko was clipped by Joe Allen inside the box.

The pattern continued into the second half as Rob Page’s men were pinned back inside their own half.

But the home side did have big chances of their own to double their advantage on the counter-attack when Aaron Ramsey steered wide, Brennan Johnson hit the post and Bale shot meekly into the arms of Bushchan.

At the other end, chances continued to come and go as Tsygkanov’s effort was saved by Hennessey before Yaremchuk put the rebound wide.

A last-ditch challenge from Ben Davies then prevented Yarmolenko the shot at redemption.

Ukraine’s day was summed up five minutes from time when Hennessey produced an incredible save to prevent substitute Artem Dovbyk’s header finding the top corner.

But Wales are now unbeaten in 19 home games stretching back nearly four years for a reason as they were roared home by the majority of the 33,000 crowd.

The last time Wales were at a World Cup they were eliminated by a goal for Brazil by 17-year-old Pele in the quarter-finals.

This generation of Welsh players achieved the seemingly impossible by getting to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 in their first major tournament for 58 years.

Now they have written themselves into the history books once more when they get the chance to face England, USA and Iran in Qatar come November.

AFP

Denmark Outclass Wales To Reach Euro 2020 Quarter-Finals

Denmark's forward Martin Braithwaite (C) shoots and scores his team's fourth goal during the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 football match between Wales and Denmark at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam on June 26, 2021. Koen van Weel / POOL / AFP
Denmark’s forward Martin Braithwaite (C) shoots and scores his team’s fourth goal during the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 football match between Wales and Denmark at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam on June 26, 2021. Koen van Weel / POOL / AFP

 

Denmark marked the 29th anniversary of their greatest triumph by marching on to the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 on Saturday as Kasper Dolberg scored twice in an emphatic 4-0 win over Wales before an exultant travelling support in Amsterdam.

In the city where Christian Eriksen made his name, it was Dolberg –- another former Ajax player –- who opened the scoring with a fizzing strike in the 27th minute.

That came after Wales had started so well but Denmark never looked back and Dolberg struck again just after the restart before Joakim Maehle and Martin Braithwaite added more goals late on.

Carried by a wave of emotion, Danish dreams are still intact in a tournament that began in such traumatic circumstances for them with Eriksen’s collapse in their opening match against Finland in Copenhagen.

They now go on to a last-eight tie in Baku against the Netherlands or the Czech Republic.

Eriksen, still recovering at home after his cardiac arrest, was present in everyone’s minds at the home of Ajax, and that combined with a vast Danish support inside the one-third full Johan Cruyff Arena made this occasion really like a home game for them.

European champions against all odds when they beat Germany in the final on this day in 1992, Denmark finally have their first win in the knockout phase of a Euro since then and it would be a truly extraordinary story if they could repeat the feat this time.

Nobody in Denmark will want to get ahead of themselves but Wales — who finished with 10 men after Harry Wilson’s late red card — could certainly have no complaints about the outcome and there will be no repeat of their run to the semi-finals at Euro 2016.

Wales up against it

They needed a moment of magic from captain Gareth Bale or Aaron Ramsey which never came, but in truth they were up against it from the outset.

Aside from the universal goodwill towards Denmark following Eriksen’s collapse, a ban on travellers from the United Kingdom entering the Netherlands meant there were very few Welsh supporters inside the stadium.

Danes, in contrast, descended in their droves on Amsterdam, creating an atmosphere not far off that seen at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen when they beat Russia to qualify for the last 16 — even the Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, was in attendance.

To their credit Wales started well, with the probing Bale leading by example in the early stages.

He crashed a shot just wide in the 10th minute, but then Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen –- Denmark’s third centre-back –- stepped up into midfield and they took control.

Denmark's players celebrate after winning the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 football match between Wales and Denmark at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam on June 26, 2021. Piroschka van de Wouw / POOL / AFP
Denmark’s players celebrate after winning the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 football match between Wales and Denmark at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam on June 26, 2021. Piroschka van de Wouw / POOL / AFP

 

They were rewarded when Dolberg, now of Nice in France and selected ahead of Yussuf Poulsen in attack, collected the ball just outside the area and unleased a superb strike into the far corner of the net.

For Wales, the signs that it was not to be their night kept coming, as right-back Connor Roberts suffered a groin injury and had to come off.

Then giant striker Kieffer Moore was booked for a foul on Danish captain Simon Kjaer, meaning a suspension for the next round if Wales made it through.

Robert Page’s side would not make it through as they fell further behind three minutes into the second half.

Neco Williams, the Liverpool full-back who had replaced Roberts, tried to clear a Braithwaite cross but only succeeded in playing the ball straight to Dolberg who seized the chance to make it 2-0.

Bale and his teammates felt there had been a foul on Moore at the start of the move but the German referee waved away the complaints and the only surprise was that it took until the dying minutes for more goals to come.

Mathias Jensen picked out the unmarked Maehle to score the third in the 88th minute, before Wilson saw red for a foul on Maehle and Braithwaite made it 4-0, a goal given after a lengthy VAR review.

AFP

Wales Manager Giggs Denies Assault Allegations After Arrest

Photo Credit: The Telegraph

 

Wales manager and Manchester United great Ryan Giggs has denied “all allegations of assault” of his girlfriend Kate Greville after being arrested following reports of a disturbance at his home on Sunday.

The 46-year-old was co-operating with police, according to a statement released by his representative.

“Mr. Giggs denies all allegations of assault made against him,” it read.

“He is cooperating with the police and will continue to assist them with their ongoing investigations.”

The Sun newspaper said police were called to Giggs’s home late on Sunday and he was arrested and questioned on suspicion of actual bodily harm and assault.

The Football Association of Wales issued a statement saying it was “aware of an alleged incident involving the National Team Manager, Ryan Giggs. The FAW will be making no further comment at this current time.”

The Sun quoted a statement from Greater Manchester Police as saying: “Police were called at 10.05 pm on Sunday to reports of a disturbance. A woman in her 30s sustained minor injuries but did not require any treatment.

“A 46-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of section 47 assault and section 39 common assault.”

The FAW canceled a press conference scheduled for Tuesday, where Giggs had been due to name his squad for the friendly against the United States, and Nations League fixtures with the Republic of Ireland and Finland later this month.

Giggs was appointed Wales manager in January 2018 after a stellar playing career in which he won 13 Premier League titles, two Champions Leagues, four FA Cups, and three League Cups with Manchester United, and was capped 64 times for Wales.

-AFP

Arsenal’s Saka Makes England Debut As Three Lions Wallop Wales

Wales’ defender Connor Roberts (L) tackles England’s defender Bukayo Saka during the international friendly football match between England and Wales at Wembley stadium in north London on October 8, 2020. Nick Potts / POOL / AFP

 

In-form Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored on his England debut as Gareth Southgate’s experimental side beat Wales 3-0 in Thursday’s friendly.

Calvert-Lewin opened the scoring at Wembley with his 10th goal this season after netting nine times in six games for Everton.

The 23-year-old’s first-half strike was followed by another maiden England goal as Wolves defender Conor Coady struck after the interval.

On his first England start, Southampton striker Danny Ings got the third goal — his first for his country — with a fine overhead kick.

With Tammy Abraham, Ben Chilwell and Jadon Sancho missing following their Covid-19 breach and a squad packed with players who have already featured heavily for their clubs, Southgate turned to his understudies before England’s Nations League matches against Belgium on Sunday and Denmark on Wednesday.

 

England’s defender Conor Coady (R) scores their second goal during the international friendly football match between England and Wales at Wembley stadium in north London on October 8, 2020.  England won the game 3-0.  Glyn KIRK / POOL / AFP

 

It was an encouraging display for the England manager as the least experienced Three Lions team in 44 years, with a total of 54 caps, gave him some food for thought.

Aston Villa playmaker Jack Grealish provided the assist for Calvert-Lewin’s goal and was a lively presence in his first England start.

Arsenal teenager Bukayo Saka lined up at left wing-back and the debutant gradually grew into the game, while Nick Pope replaced error-prone Jordan Pickford in goal and produced a composed display.

Wales, without Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, were beaten for the first time in nine games dating back to June 2019.

They remain without a win over England since 1984, but boss Ryan Giggs had one eye on their Nations League games against the Republic of Ireland and Bulgaria.

– Phoney war –
In their first meeting since England beat Wales at Euro 2016, the visitors should have taken an early lead when Saka’s weak headed clearance fell to Kieffer Moore, who scuffed his shot wide from 12 yards.

It was England’s first game at Wembley in 11 months because of the coronavirus pandemic and the sterile behind closed doors atmosphere meant the ‘Battle of Britain’ felt more like a phoney war at times.

Calvert-Lewin raised the tempo when he got behind the Wales defence and rounded keeper Wayne Hennessey, only to see his shot cleared.

It was a warning that Wales failed to heed and Calvert-Lewin extended his hot streak in the 26th minute.

Grealish cleverly worked a yard of space to loft a fine cross into the six-yard box, where Calvert-Lewin timed his run to evade the flat-footed Chris Mepham and head past Hennessey.

Moore had a chance to equalise when he barged his way through England’s defence, but Nick Pope charged off his line to save at the Wales striker’s feet.

Set up by Southgate with three centre-back and two holding midfielders in Kalvin Phillips and Harry Winks, England were too conservative in the first half — a criticism that was labelled at them in their goalless draw with Denmark in September.

They were much improved after the break and Wales couldn’t cope.

In the absence of the rested Harry Kane, Kieran Trippier was serving as the ninth different England captain under Southgate and the Atletico Madrid defender celebrated the honour by setting up the second goal in the 53rd minute.

Trippier swung his free-kick to the far post and Coady arrived to guide a half-volley past Hennessey from close-range.

Ings put the result beyond doubt in the 63rd minute, meeting Tyrone Mings’ header with a superb overhead kick from six yards.

Grealish was denied a goal by two saves from Hennessey, but England’s new-boys had already made their mark.

AFP

Wales Announces Lockdown For Cardiff, Two Other Cities Over COVID-19

 

n. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP)

 

Welsh leaders on Friday announced Cardiff will become the first UK capital city to go into local lockdown since a national shutdown earlier this year, as London’s coronavirus rates also rose.

The restrictions, which bar people from entering or leaving areas unless for work, education or another valid reason, will also apply in second city Swansea, from 6pm (1700 GMT) Sunday, and in the town of Llanelli from Saturday.

The new rules, which also forbid people meeting anyone not in their household indoors, follow a nationwide surge in coronavirus cases that has intensified across south Wales.

The devolved government, which is responsible for healthcare, said ministers will hold discussions over the weekend with health experts and others to consider if the measures need to be imposed elsewhere.

“We’re acting to protect people’s health and to try and break the chain of transmission and stop the situation from getting worse,” Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething said.

The announcement of the new shutdowns came as the UK government said the so-called R number — the virus’ reproduction rate — across Britain was now between 1.2 and 1.5 and growing.

That means on average every 10 people infected will infect between 12 and 15 other people, with scientists estimating new cases were growing four to eight percent every day.

In London, the growth rate is four to nine percent, and Mayor Sadiq Khan warned the capital was at a “very worrying tipping point”.

He said there had been a sharp rise in hospital admissions and patients in intensive care, and called for more testing in the city, accusing ministers of diverting capacity elsewhere.

“The lack of testing capacity is totally unacceptable and it is why London has been added to the government’s coronavirus watchlist as an area of concern,” he said.

“Ministers simply have to get a grip…. Any delay will mean letting the city down and will cost lives.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday announced a raft of new restrictions in England, mirrored to varying extents in the UK’s other nations, to try to curb the rise.

They include a 10:00 pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants, which came into force on Thursday night, and again encouraging people to work from home if they can.

Large swathes of northern and central England were already under tighter restrictions than the rest of the country following spikes in Covid-19 cases there.

Local leaders in Leeds said on Friday it was likely the northern English city would face new rules from midnight, including a ban on households mixing in private homes.

That would take the number of people living under local restrictions to more than 16.2 million people across the UK, according to an assessment by the domestic Press Association news agency.

Britain has been the worst-hit country in Europe by the pandemic, with the government recording nearly 42,000 deaths of people who had tested positive for Covid-19.

AFP

Real Madrid Making It ‘Very Difficult’ To Leave – Bale

Wales' forward Gareth Bale attends a training session at The Vale Resort near Hensol in South Wales on August 31, 2020 ahead of their UEFA Nations League international football match against Finland. GEOFF CADDICK / AFP
Wales’ forward Gareth Bale attends a training session at The Vale Resort near Hensol in South Wales on August 31, 2020 ahead of their UEFA Nations League international football match against Finland. GEOFF CADDICK / AFP

 

Gareth Bale has accused Real Madrid of making it “very difficult” to leave the Spanish club as the Wales forward looks to end his Bernabeu exile.

Bale is out of favour with Real manager Zinedine Zidane and played just 48 minutes of Madrid’s 12 games when the Spanish season resumed after the coronavirus lockdown.

Zidane, who has feuded with Bale throughout his two spells in charge, said the winger did not want to play in last season’s Champions League last-16 second-leg tie at Manchester City.

Bale has two years left on his Real contract, but there appears little chance he will force his way into the manager’s plans.

The 31-year-old almost joined Chinese Super League club Jiangsu Suning in 2019 before Real pulled the plug on the deal, a decision that still irks Bale.

“I think the club needs to answer that question because I tried to leave last year. They blocked everything at the last second,” Bale told Sky Sports.

“It was a project I was excited for last year but it didn’t materialise. There’s been other instances where we’ve tried to go but the club won’t allow it or done something.

“So it’s on the club, I can’t really do anything. I have a contract. All I can do is carry on what I’m doing and hopefully something comes up.

“But as I said, it’s in the club’s hands. They make things very difficult to be honest.”

Bale became the world’s most expensive player when he joined Real Madrid from Tottenham for £85 million ($113 million) in 2013.

He has won two La Liga titles and four Champions League with Real, but his critics accused him of showing a lack of respect as his row with the Zidane intensified.

He was pictured pretending to sleep in the stands and using a roll of wrist tape as a telescope when he found out he was going to be an unused substitute.

“I want to play football and I’m still motivated to play football. I’m only 31 and feel I’m in great shape still,” Bale said.

Bale has been linked with Tottenham and Manchester United and he will not rule out a return to the Premier League after seven years away if Madrid are willing to sell him.

“If those options arise then I’d look at it for sure. We have plenty of time in this transfer window and I guess a couple of others as well,” he said. “Time will tell.”

Bale is currently with Wales on Nations League duty and will captain the team in Finland on Thursday.

He insisted he remains unaffected by the controversy in Spain.

“Whatever goes on at Madrid goes on at Madrid. It doesn’t really affect me,” he said. “I’ve had plenty of experience to deal with it. It is what it is.”

 

AFP

Moore Keeps Wales Euro Hopes Afloat In Slovakia Draw

Slovak players celebrate scoring during the UEFA Euro 2020 Group E qualification football match Slovakia v Wales in Trnava, Slovakia on October 10, 2019. VLADIMIR SIMICEK / AFP

 

Former lifeguard Kieffer Moore scored on his international debut as Wales drew 1-1 with Slovakia on Thursday as Ryan Giggs’ side stayed afloat in Euro 2020 qualifying.

Moore headed home in the 25th minute in Trnava before Slovakia deservedly levelled early in the second period through Juraj Kucka.

The result left Wales with seven points in Group E, six behind leaders Croatia and three back from Slovakia but they do have the luxury of a game in hand and a better head-to-head record over the Slovaks.

Moore, a towering 6ft 5in (1.96m) centre-forward who plays his club football with Wigan in the English secod tier, opened the scoring in the 25th minute.

The 27-year-old rose unmarked just outside the six-yard box to head in from a pinpoint cross from Manchester United’s Daniel James out on the left.

James had been picked out by a raking crossfield pass from Gareth Bale.

Just moments earlier, Bale, who came into the game with fresh doubts over his future at Real Madrid, had headed against the crossbar.

Bale has a liking for Slovakia. His first international goal goal came at home to the same opponents in 2006.

He had also been on target against them during a 2-1 win at Euro 2016.

For Moore, it was an international debut to remember. Just six years ago, he was playing non-league football and working as a lifeguard to make ends meet.

Wales thought they should have had a penalty as the opening period closed but defender Norbert Gyomber’s clumsy sliding challenge on Jonny Williams was deemed legitimate by the referee.

Slovakia had some of the best opportunities in the early exchanges.

Robert Mak cleverly created space in the penalty area but teenage defender Ethan Ampadu blocked the drive.

Mak again had a sight of goal as half-time approached before full-back Connor Roberts came to the rescue.

The home side did eventually pull level eight minutes into the second half.

Wales only half-cleared a cross and with time to set himself midfielder Kucka unleashed a fierce left-foot volley from 20 yards which left goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey floundering.

Slovakia continued to pile on the pressure with Mak again denied by a block before Hennessey needed to dive at full stretch to push away a drive from the impressive Parma star Kucka.

As time ticked away, Gyomber was red-carded for a lunge on Moore before Bale, already on a yellow card, ended the game shaking off a knock picked up in a crude, late challenge on Milan Skriniar.

AFP

Bale’s Wales Fall To Surprise Defeat By Albania

Bale's Wales Fall To Surprise Defeat By Albania
Albania’s defender Ardian Ismajli (L) and Migjen Basha (R) vie for the ball with Wales’ midfielder Harry Wilson (C) during the friendly football match between Albania and Wales at the Elbasan Arena Stadium in Elbasan on November 20, 2018. Gent SHKULLAKU / AFP

 

Wales lost 1-0 to Albania in a friendly in Elbasan on Tuesday as Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale was restricted to a second-half cameo as a substitute.

The only goal of the game came as Bekim Balaj converted from the penalty spot after 58 minutes as Derby winger Harry Wilson brought down Taulant Xhaka — brother of Arsenal and Switzerland midfielder Granit — in the box.

Bale came onto the field as did Arsenal playmaker Aaron Ramsey shortly after as coach Ryan Giggs attempted to avoid a surprising defeat to the team ranked 60th in the world but it was to no avail.

In a frustrating evening for the visitors, Bale was shown a yellow card after 83 minutes for a needless tackle on Xhaka.

The best chance for Giggs’s outfit fell to Burnley forward Sam Vokes whose weak effort from five yards out was parried away easily by Albanian goalkeeper Etrit Berisha during stoppage time in the first half.

Defender Chris Gunter captained Wales to became his country’s most-capped male footballer of all time, surpassing former Everton goalkeeper Neville Southall on 93 appearances.

The result was Wales’ second straight loss after being beaten 2-1 to Denmark in the Nations League on Friday.

“It will hurt for a while because we don’t like to lose back-to-back games so it’s disappointing and we’ll take a few days to get over it,” Gunter told television channel S4C.

“I said before the game it wasn’t about myself, it was about the team coming here and putting on a good performance and a good result to end the year which is disappointing,” he added.

AFP

Bale Boosts Wales Nations League Promotion Hopes

 

Real Madrid star Gareth Bale is back in the Wales squad for a crucial Nations League group clash with Denmark after missing last month’s international matches.

The 29-year-old winger — who was unavailable for the friendly against Spain and the Nations League win over Ireland because of muscle fatigue — is fit after playing in the last four of Real’s matches.

Bale features among the 26-man squad selected by Ryan Giggs for the home match with the Danes on November 16 with the hosts sitting atop the group on four points, two ahead of their opponents.

Victory would see the Welsh promoted from League B to League A.

Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey and Chelsea youngster Ethan Ampadu are also back after missing the Ireland game last month.

Defender James Lawrence, who plays for Belgian giants Anderlecht, has been called up for the first time.

The 26-year-old joined the Belgian outfit from Slovakian team AS Trenčín, where he played 117 matches.

Former clubs as a youth player include Arsenal, Queens Park Rangers, Ajax and Sparta Rotterdam.

Wales will also play a friendly with Albania on November 20 in Elbasan.

AFP

Coleman Uncertain To Remain Wales Boss

Wales Players Urge Coleman To Stay On
File: Wales’ manager Chris Coleman follows the game from the touchline during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualification football match between Georgia and Wales in Tbilisi on October 6, 2017.
Alexander NEMENOV / AFP

Wales manager Chris Coleman said on Wednesday he has “no idea” if he will stay in the job after holding initial talks with football chiefs.

Coleman’s current contract expires at the end of this month after friendlies away against France on November 10 and Panama in Cardiff on November 14.

The 47-year-old’s position has been under scrutiny since last month’s defeat to Ireland cost them a place at the 2018 World Cup in Russia next summer.

“I have no idea if these are my last games,” Coleman told a press conference near Cardiff. “Initial talks have been undertaken since our last game but we are no further forward. That’s where we are.”

Coleman was appointed Wales manager in January 2012 following the death of his great friend Gary Speed.

He struggled at the start of his reign but the former Fulham manager took Wales to their first major finals for 58 years at Euro 2016 and steered them to the semi-finals in France.

A players’ delegation — including star man Gareth Bale and skipper Ashley Williams — met Coleman straight after the defeat to Ireland in attempt to persuade him to stay.

“France in Paris is a fantastic game for us and if this is my last camp it’s not a bad way to sign off,” Coleman said.

“It may be the (Euro 2016) final that never took place and of course we’ve never played Panama.

“I have to look and think, ‘Can I take it forward? Is the structure and facilities good to take us forward?’ So it’s not just me personally. All things need to be right for us to take it forward.”

Coleman has been linked with Premier League vacancies at Everton and Leicester — the latter since filled by Claude Puel — in recent weeks.

But he was reticent when asked if there had been any interest in his services.

“I’m not going to say a club has done this or that,” he said. “We’re always going to be linked with clubs and vacancies. Some managers are still in their jobs, I’ve been on the end of that and it’s not nice.”

Coleman named a 24-man squad for the upcoming friendlies that includes Gareth Bale.

Bale has not played since suffering a calf injury in Real Madrid’s Champions League victory against Borussia Dortmund on September 26 and missed Wales’s final World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Ireland.

AFP

Wales Players Urge Coleman To Stay On

Wales Players Urge Coleman To Stay On
Wales’ manager Chris Coleman follows the game from the touchline during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualification football match between Georgia and Wales in Tbilisi on October 6, 2017.
Alexander NEMENOV / AFP

Senior Wales players have urged manager Chris Coleman to stay on despite the heartbreak of failing to qualify for next year’s World Cup finals in Russia, a report said Tuesday.

Britain’s Press Association said Coleman met with key players — including the injured Gareth Bale — at the team hotel following their 1-0 defeat to the Republic of Ireland in Cardiff on Monday.

The squad have reportedly given their unanimous support to Coleman and it is also understood that the Football Association of Wales is hoping Coleman extends his near six-year stay at the helm.

Coleman said in the immediate aftermath of the Ireland defeat that he would hold talks with the FAW over his future.

The manager said after Wales had reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016 that the 2018 World Cup campaign would be his last in charge but his stance appears to have softened.

Defender Chris Gunter called for Coleman to stay.

“I think everyone in Wales, fans and players, would want to see him stay on — 100 percent,” he said. “He’s been a massive part of what we’ve done and he is the man to hopefully take us forward.

“If the powers that be can give him a really good contract and make him stay, he can carry on being the greatest Welsh manager of all time.”

Coleman became Wales boss in January 2012 following the death of his close friend Gary Speed.

The former Fulham and Real Sociedad boss led Wales to Euro 2016 — their first major tournament in 58 years — and then made it all the way to the semi-finals in France.

“We want him to stay because what he’s given this nation is something that’s never been done before,” said Gunter.

“The message from the whole squad would be that we want him to sign a new contract.”

AFP