Gareth Bale has raised the temperature ahead of Wales’s Euro 2016 clash with England next week by claiming that his country will show more “passion and pride” than their neighbours.
“I think we’ve got a lot more passion and pride about us than them. We’ll definitely show that on the day,” said the Wales forward, in comments published by British media outlets on Saturday.
Wales open their Group B campaign against Slovakia in Bordeaux later on Saturday before locking horns with old foes England in the northern industrial city of Lens on Thursday.
England, who tackle Russia in Marseille on Saturday, are the favourites to win the group, but Bale believes it is time Roy Hodgson’s men were taken down a peg or two.
“They big themselves up before they’ve done anything, so we’re going to go there and we believe we can beat them,” said the Real Madrid forward.
“For me it is probably the stand-out game in the group stages, but there is no pressure on us because they believe they can beat us.
“I had a chuckle when England came out (in the draw), I’m not going to lie. It’s an amazing game to be involved in and it’s like any derby -- you never want to lose to the enemy.
“Even in the recent (rugby) World Cup when we won, I remember those. England don’t get that, do they?”
Bale also paid tribute to former Wales manager Gary Speed, who sparked the team’s revival before tragically taking his own life in November 2011.
“What happened made us come together, stronger,” said Bale, citing the team’s ‘Together, Stronger’ motto.
“We’ve had to go deep to bring our emotions out, bring it onto the field. In this campaign you’ve seen it. After every game, we are all in huddles.
“We’ve been through so much to be here now, and it’s definitely a shame that we’ve had so many great players -- Ryan Giggs being one of them -- who never experienced a major tournament.
“I think we appreciate it more than other countries, and we just have to give it a go.”