Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Not so Nice for England fans as Group B upset means no Paris match

Wales fans cheer on their side in the stands during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group B match at Stadium Municipal, Toulouse
Wales fans cheer on their side in the stands during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group B match at Stadium Municipal, Toulouse

England's frustrating 0-0 draw with Slovakia not only cost them the chance to top Group B at Euro 2016 - it will also cost fans following the Three Lions in the knockout stages.

Manager Roy Hodgson fielded a much-changed side for the tie in Saint-Etienne - with Wales sealing the Group B top spot after a resounding 3-0 win over Russia in Toulouse.

A number of England fans had already booked flights and hotels for Paris, thinking the side would top the group and play at the Parc des Princes on Saturday.

But Wales will now be travelling to the French capital, while England will be heading to Nice for their last-16 game next Monday.

Andy Grimes, a 40-year-old Ipswich fan from Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, spent close to £500 on organising his trip to Paris before the tournament began.

"A mate and I booked everything up for Paris before the Euros. Maybe it was a bit naive but we looked at the group and thought we would get two wins and win it," he said.

"It was so frustrating last night as it's the last chance to see England in a major tournament for a while as we won't go to Russia or Qatar.

"We are now weighing up whether we go and enjoy the trip and back Wales, but for the amount of money we may just try and sell the tickets online.

"But we're so angry about it at the moment. We will sleep on it tonight and see how we feel tomorrow."

Kevin Miles, chief executive of the Football Supporters' Federation, said: "It's a real pain for everyone that has hotels and flights booked in what wasn't an unreasonable expectation.

"People were on their phones last night already trying to rearrange tickets as they waited for the trains.

"The Uefa ticket exchange portal will come into its own. It was designed exactly for this situation so it's definitely worth having a look at."

Meanwhile in Toulouse - where the city has been filled with Welsh red over previous days - fans were few in number on Tuesday morning.

The side surpassed nearly all expectations in the group stage - with supporters saying they had not made plans to stay in France for the knockout stages of the tournament.

Brothers Neil and Ian Jones will be travelling back home via a train to Perpignan and a flight to Birmingham.

Ian, 48, who now lives in North Devon, said: "It's been literally living the dream.

"There was no way we weren't going to be here with the next World Cups in Russia and Qatar."

Neil, 43, of Cwmbran, said: "I never thought we would top the group. I thought we might come third and potentially get into the next round that way.

"It's been a dream experience seeing Wales play tournament football and travelling with the side to a beautiful country."

When asked if they were considering a trip to Paris for the next round, Neil said: "Sadly we've got jobs to go back to."

While Ian added: "That might require a special pass from the family."


From Belfast Telegraph