Belfast Telegraph

Euro 2016 TV chiefs want late kick-off for England v Wales clash

By Staff Reporter

Wales' Euro 2016 game against England in Lens could be rescheduled, with broadcasters keen for the Group B fixture to be moved to an evening kick-off rather than its current 2pm slot.

With Wales and England, managed respectively by Chris Coleman and Roy Hodgson, due to meet at the 41,000-capacity Stade Bollaert-Delelis on Thursday 16 June, there is the prospect of millions of supporters from both nations being forced to miss the game due to work or school commitments.

Both ITV and BBC are understood to be set to lobby Uefa for a change in kick-off, having succeeded with a similar plea to Fifa to move the 2014 World Cup tie between England and Italy in Manaus to an 11pm BST kick-off from its original timing of 2am.

Wales boss Coleman, meanwhile, is relishing the chance for "payback" against Russia in the Euro 2016 finals.

All the focus may be on Wales being drawn in the same group as England, but the opportunity to get one over on Russia will also inspire Coleman to seek revenge for the controversial and agonising Euro 2004 play-off defeat.

Wales lost that play-off 1-0 over two legs but complained to Uefa - unsuccessfully - after it was revealed that Russian midfielder Egor Titov had played in the second leg despite failing a drugs test after the first.

Coleman said: "They broke our hearts that day and I still remember that feeling of losing in the play-offs.

"Payback - my son texted me that immediately after the draw: payback. I remember the feeling when we missed out - it was horrible."

Russia will be the final Group B opponents for Wales in Toulouse, and Coleman insisted it would be a mistake to focus too much on their match against England in Lens, with three points vital in the opening match against Slovakia in Bordeaux.

He said: "We must not take our mind off why we are there and that's to get out of the group, not just to win one game.

"It's not just about beating England, but we know they are a great team, I've total respect for Roy (Hodgson).

"We will be up against it but they will be up against it too, if we perform like we know we can it will be a tough game that's for sure.

"I pleased it's not the first game, it's new territory for us but at least we can have a little taste of it because we know if England hit all the right notes they have the capacity to beat anybody. We know that it's going to a firecracker.

"Slovakia are a good team and beat Spain in qualifying so they have a lot to say, Russia are good offensively but they can leak goals.

"There are some tasty teams there but we can absolutely get out of the group."

Coleman said appearing in the draw hall in Paris had made him sit up and realise he was entering an exciting new stage of his career.

He added: "It suddenly became very real.

"I was just sitting around looking at all the managers - Joachim Low, Vicente del Bosque, Roy Hodgson - and you realise you are in serious company here.

"But it was a great feeling to be a part of it and I was just so proud to be there representing Wales."

Belfast Telegraph