England vs Wales: Roy Hodgson calls on fans to respect national anthems

16 Jun

Roy Hodgson has called on England and Wales supporters to fall silent during the respective national anthems ahead of Thursday’s Euro 2016 match here in Lens following a week-long war of words in the build-up to the game.

England supporters drowned out Russia’s national anthem with boos and whistles prior to Saturday’s violence-marred Group B encounter in Marseille’s Stade Velodrome. And with Anglo-Welsh rivalry being stirred up by comments from both camps this week, with Gareth Bale and Jack Wilshere the most outspoken, Hodgson has urged fans to respect God Save the Queen and Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, the Welsh anthem.

“If you ask me what I would like, I would like to see both national anthems totally and utterly respected,” Hodgson said. “I’d like total silence from England during the Welsh anthem and total silence from them during ours.

“Whether we will see that or not I don’t know – we are here to play football and these are matters we cannot affect. It really has a very, very small bearing in our lives, what will have a bearing on our lives is the result, and that’s what we are working to get.

“I can call for lots of things, whether it changes behaviour is another matter. I’m a football coach. I don’t give myself magical powers to change the way football fans act and behave.”

Wales go into a game which has been billed as their biggest since the 1958 World Cup quarter-final against Brazil in Sweden. But manager Chris Coleman has insisted his players must keep calm and not allow the emotion of the occasion to affect their performance.

“It’s all right ranting and screaming and shouting and then kicking someone and getting sent off,” Coleman said. “There’s nothing brave about that. You have to control your emotions. You must keep control. If you go to 10 men against a team like England you’re asking for trouble.

“I’m not going to be aggressive in my team-talk. I want them to be focused and calm. We have to make sure the game and the occasion doesn’t get the better of us and we go about our football and enjoy the game. You enjoy games like this when you compete. That’ll be the message to the players.”

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