Build-up to the first semi-final between Portugal and Wales dominated the agenda at Euro 2016 on Tuesday. But, while much of the focus was on the showdown between Real Madrid superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, there was plenty going on aside from Galacticos.
WAFFLING JOURNALIST MAKES JOB OFFER TO COLEMAN
Wales are in the semi-finals at their first major tournament since the 1958 World Cup thanks to shock 3-1 win over Belgium, which resulted in Red Devils boss Marc Wilmots leaving his post.
There are fears Belgium are wasting a golden generation of talent and one concerned journalist took matters into his own hands when he was face-to-face with Chris Coleman during the Wales manager’s Stade de Lyon news conference.
“Many of our players were impressed with the tactics you used in the Belgium game,” he said. “Belgium is looking for a new coach and I wondered if you would be interested in becoming Belgium manager after the European Championship.”
Like most things he has encountered in France, a chuckling Coleman took it all in his stride.
ONE DAY AT A TIME FOR GRANDMA SANTOS
It’s safe to say Portugal coach Fernando Santos was not so heavy on the laughs when he spoke later on.
Asked whether this was the biggest match of his career, the 61-year-old responded with characteristic understatement and recalled some old family wisdom.
“Every single day is important,” he said. “My Grandmother used to say the most important thing was to wake up in the morning because it means you are alive.”
Ronaldo versus Bale? Fernando Santos is just hoping for a nice bit of breakfast before fine-tuning his tactics.
— Dom Farrell (@DomFarrell1986) July 5, 2016
ROBSON-KANU INKS HIS WAY INTO WELSH AFFECTION
Hal Robson-Kanu’s exquisite turn and finish might have caused the Belgium defence plenty of pain in Lille last week but the goal persuaded one Wales fan to put himself through a particular kind of torture.
Greg Davies decided to honour the nation’s new hero by having a Hal Robson-Tattoo of the player’s face inked on to his calf. But with the striker currently out of contract, Cardiff City fan Davies acknowledges his latest piece of body art is not without its risks.
“The only worry I have is that he’s a free agent,” he told Wales Online. “What if he signs for Swansea? I’ll be devastated.”
— Ben Rees (@cardiff62) July 5, 2016
CHILD’S PLAY FALLS FOUL OF UEFA
There is always one who tries to ruin a good party. Well, this time it’s the host of Euro 2016, UEFA.
It would seem European football’s governing body is not impressed with Wales players inviting their children on to the field at the end of games to join in the celebrations.
The pictures of Gareth Bale joyously playing with daughter Alba melted many a heart following the victory over Northern Ireland but tournament director Martin Kallen was happy to play party-pooper.
Kallen told the Guardian: “It’s not a family party. Only people with accreditation cards should be allowed on the pitch. A stadium is not the most safe place for small kids.”
Well done Martin, you’re really judged the mood here.
— Real Madrid Facts (@RMadridFact) June 25, 2016
BRITS CAN’T STAND THE HEAT
A combination of Welsh journalists heading down from the team’s north-western base of Dinard and a clutch of English media who have managed to hang about around Paris far longer than Roy Hodgson’s team meant plenty of Brits travelling south to Lyon for Tuesday’s pre-match news conference.
Temperatures were soaring – at odds with the persistent drizzle in the north of France – and a fair few were caught out. Omnisport’s man on the ground is a paid-up member of the Factor 50 club and managed to just about shield himself from harmful rays.
One redoubtable Welshman arrived at the Stade de Lyon media centre in disarray. Drenched improbably in sweat from head to toe, his first act before writing a word was to seek a place to change his clothes. Hopefully his countrymen handle the heat a little better on the field on Wednesday.
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