Au Pays de Galles, il n’y a pas que le rugby ! Il y a aussi le football avec notamment les clubs de Cardiff et de Swansea et bien entendu l’équipe nationale du Pays de Galles qui ce vendredi a battu la Belgique. Et les journalistes présents hier à Cardiff ont souligné l’extraordinaire ambiance avec le Hen Wlad, l’hymne national, chanté par les 38000 spectateurs.
The incredible rendition of the Welsh national anthem
Never has a crowd played such a pivotal role in deciding the outcome of a football match.
There was talk of moving Wales’ pivotal Euro 2016 qualifier to the Millennium Stadium and deciding against that turned out to be a masterstroke from the FAW.
33,280 packed out the Cardiff City Stadium to see Gareth Bale fire Wales to a crucial 1-0 victory over Belgium, but at times it felt as though a nation was on top of the 22 players out on the pitch.
Aaron Ramsey confessed after the match it was « the most incredible atmosphere he’s ever played in » and it comes as no surprise.
Before kick off, I witnessed one of the most rousing renditions of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau I’ve ever seen – It had Belgian journalists looking on in awe in the press box.
Pictures: The sensational celebration images
The Canton Stand did not stop all night, there were even a few rugby songs thrown into the mix and soon the rest of the stadium was joining in.
When Gareth Bale poked Wales in front, the stadium shook to it’s foundations as strangers climbed on top of each other in a state of euphoria.
But the real stuff was yet to come.
Midway through the second half Aaron Ramsey and co. were out on their feet, under constant bombardment from Belgium – There was an air of inevitability about what was happening.
Then suddenly, out of nowhere, the crowd broke out into an emotional rendition of the Welsh national anthem, followed by furious chants of « Wales! Wales! »
It made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, sent chills down your back and it provided a visible lift for the players.
Make no bones about it, Wales were on the back foot for a lot of the game, chasing shadows at time.
But the fans refused to let their team believe it, sucking the ball away from Wayne Hennessey’s net and when Chris Coleman turned to them, demanding more… They delivered.
‘The 12th man’ is one of the oldest cliches in sport, but you will struggle to find a better example of it.