‘Hal-lelujah’: Press hail Welsh heroes for Euro triumph over Belgium

  • AFP, London
  • Updated: Jul 02, 2016 11:50 IST
Wales' forward Gareth Bale (centre) celebrates with team mates after the Euro 2016 quarterfinal football match against Belgium at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium in Villeneuve-d'Ascq near Lille. (AFP Photo)

“Princes of Wales”, “Hal-lelujah” and “Welsh Wonders” splashed across the first editions of the British media as they saluted Wales’ historic 3-1 victory over Belgium that sent them into the Euro 2016 semifinals.

It is the first time Wales have ever reached the last four of a major tournament and comes on their debut appearance in the European championship.

The headlines and comment were in stark contrast to those on Monday when England were shockingly dumped out by Iceland in the last 16.

Indeed the Daily Mail’s renowned features writer Martin Samuel made the point that the claim no winter break meant England players arrived at major finals exhausted were a nonsense as 15 of the 22 Wales matchday squad play in England.

“Princes of Wales” splashed the Sun while the Daily Express went for “Welsh Wonders” and the Mirror went for the simpler “Yeeeees!”

The Times though made a play on one of the Welsh goalscorers names Hal Robson-Kanu, who doesn’t even have a club at the moment as they led with “Hal-lelujah”.

The ‘I’ played on another of the scorers names, Sam Vokes.

“That’s All Vokes,’ mimicking Bugs Bunny’s sign off line whilst the Mirror Sports back page also made good use of Kanu-Robson’s name.

“Kanu Win it? Yes we Kan.”

Samuel said his goal evoked memories of the legendary Johan Cruyff, who died this year after a short battle with cancer, and after who the intricate turn perfected by Robson-Kanu in the build-up to his goal is named after.

“The spirit of Johan Cruyff lives on. Of all the players that would embody it at this European Championship, however, few were expecting Hal Robson-Kanu,” penned Samuel.

“The greatest goal in Welsh history - in both senses of the word? Probably. Robson-Kanu put Wales into the semi-final of their first tournament since 1958, so no goal has been more significant.

“And the quality - well it’s up there, too, a Cruyff turn in the penalty area of such perfect execution that Thomas Meunier needed his passport to get back in the country.

“It is a short trip to the Belgium border and Meunier and several teammates were well on the way before they realised Robson-Kanu had changed direction.”

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