Wales boss Coleman calls for calm ahead of England tie

Wales' coach Chris Coleman at the UEFA EURO 2016 group B preliminary round match between Wales and Slovakia at Stade de Bordeaux in Bordeaux, France, June 11.
Wales' coach Chris Coleman at the UEFA EURO 2016 group B preliminary round match between Wales and Slovakia at Stade de Bordeaux in Bordeaux, France, June 11.PHOTO: EPA

DINARD • Wales must have cool heads and not get carried away by the emotion of Thursday's all-British Euro 2016 Group B clash with England in Lens, manager Chris Coleman said yesterday.

His men top the group after victory over Slovakia on Saturday, their first tournament match since 1958. A further win over England would guarantee Wales a place in the last 16 and pile huge pressure on Roy Hodgson's side.

"We have to be streetwise. We don't have to rattle cages. They know what the atmosphere will be like, they have to be ice cold in their thinking and stick to a game plan," Coleman told a press conference.

"Nothing has changed. We will go into the game as underdogs. England will be expected to win the game. We know what our identity is.

"There is urgency about us that has to remain. It will get fiery and I want it to be fiery, but I want them to be controlled."

Also calling for cool heads were England manager Roy Hodgson and captain Wayne Rooney, who have appealed to fans to behave for the Wales game after European football chiefs threatened to throw the Three Lions out of the tournament following three days of violence in Marseille.

In a video posted on the Football Association's Twitter page, Hodgson and Rooney expressed concern that further flashpoints could lead to an early end to their tournament.

"As the England manager, I am obviously now very concerned about the threat that is hanging over us and the sanction that could possibly be imposed upon the England team," Hodgson said.

"We worked very hard to get here and we want to stay in the competition."

He has also asked his England players to rise above the "disrespectful" comments from their Euro 2016 opponents after showing his disdain for Gareth Bale's assertion that Wales will play with more national fervour on Thursday.

"The other day it was Igor Akinfeev (Russia's goalkeeper) saying we were the worst seeded team in the group, and now it's Gareth Bale," Hodgson said.

"I don't have any doubts personally about our patriotism and our desire and that's the most important thing. If he (Bale) believes that's the case, he's welcome to that opinion."

Rooney said: "That's what he (Bale) feels but I'm sure all us English players will feel differently.

"He's obviously a proud Welshman, which he should be. It's where he's from but we're from England and we're very proud Englishmen. We are proud, otherwise we wouldn't be here."

REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2016, with the headline 'Wales boss Coleman calls for calm ahead of England tie'. Print Edition | Subscribe