Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Euro 2016: Tickets for Northern Ireland showdown with Wales on unofficial resale sites for £1,000 - 15 times their face value

By Adrian Rutherford

Tickets for Northern Ireland's Euro 2016 showdown with Wales were being offered for sale at more than £1,000 last night.

The country is expected to come to a standstill tomorrow as Michael O'Neill's side bid to reach the quarter-finals.

Thousands of fans are set to return to Paris for our biggest match for more than 30 years.

Tickets for the tie at the Parc des Princes sold out within minutes of being released by Uefa yesterday.

Last night they were being advertised on unofficial resale sites for more than £1,000 - 15 times their face value.

Fans are also braced for travel misery with airline companies ramping up prices for flights to the French capital.

A one-way plane journey from Dublin to Paris today or tomorrow starts at more than £300.

Direct flights from Belfast have sold out.

However, those lucky enough to get their hands on tickets and flights have an opportunity to see Northern Ireland bid to create history.

For many the team's Euro 2016 journey is reminiscent of the glory days of the 1982 World Cup in Spain.

Northern Ireland memorably beat the host nation in Valencia to progress to the second round.

Gerry Armstrong, who scored the winner in the 1-0 victory, said the class of 2016 can emulate the heroes of '82 by defeating Wales.

"For me 1982 is still the high point, but if we get into the quarter-finals that will equal the achievement without a shadow of a doubt," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

Wales have been one of the tournament's surprise packages.

They won their group ahead of England, and in Gareth Bale possess the world's most expensive footballer.

The sides drew 1-1 in a friendly in Cardiff in March, albeit Bale missed that game.

But Armstrong believes the Welsh are beatable, and is relieved to have missed out on a potential meeting with hosts France.

"We know the players and the team, having already played them in a friendly a few months ago," he added.

"I think it's a better option for us - beating France or beating Wales? I think we've a better chance of beating Wales.

"This team, this group, when they rise to the occasion they can achieve whatever they want.

"They have got the ability and belief to do that - it is possible. It would be amazing for the country." Fans have followed Northern Ireland in their thousands throughout their Euro 2016 adventure.

Last night the French capital was preparing for another invasion of green and white.

The Parc des Princes, where Northern Ireland played Germany earlier this week, can seat 48,000 people.

But that has fallen well short of demand, with tickets selling out within minutes of being released yesterday.

A category two ticket worth €105 (around £80) was being offered by one resale website for a whopping €1,404 (£1,076).

The cheapest was going at £240 - three times face value.

Pairs of tickets on eBay are also fetching asking prices of more than £400.

Northern Ireland have defied the odds - and many predictions - to reach this stage.

Yesterday ex-Wales midfielder turned pundit Robbie Savage was ridiculed after joking that his country had got an easy route into the last eight.

In a Tweet sent to Neil Lennon, Colin Murray, Gerry Taggart and Charlie Lawson, aka Jim McDonald from Coronation Street, he quipped: "Fantastic draw for Wales, great to get a bye into the quarters."

It drew an angry backlash from the Green and White Army.

Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty said he wasn't bothered by Savage's jibe.

"I haven't actually seen that," he said.

"Listen, we were written off from the very first moment we got here. We were told that we weren't going to get a point and probably be the worst team at the tournament.

"We're in the last 16, and with the belief we have in the squad and the belief the fans have in us, we honestly believe we can have a massive say in where we finish up in the tournament."

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill has said his players face the game of their lives tomorrow.

And defender Aaron Hughes believes they are ready for the challenge.

"The confidence in this squad is as high as it ever has been," he said.

"That excitement brings that confidence. We'll put everything we have into this one."

If Northern Ireland make the quarter-finals they will face the winners of the Hungary v Belgium tie in Lille next Friday.

It would be an occasion filled with emotion, coming on the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme - just 50 miles from the battlefield.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph