Belfast Telegraph

Euro 2016: Wales do not regret cheering England's sorry exit

By Jack Pitt-Brooke

Wales players Neil Taylor and Chris Gunter do not regret celebrating England being knocked out of Euro 2016 on Monday night, after a video of the squad doing so leaked online.

Swansea City left-back Taylor explained that they were celebrating because Iceland had won, not because England had lost.

"We don't regret it," Taylor said at the Welsh camp at Dinard. "The lads were having a bit of fun, enjoying Iceland. It wasn't meant to come out but that's social media these days."

Taylor insisted that Wales - who beat Northern Ireland in the last 16 - had a long-standing sense of solidarity with Iceland, another smaller nation who have reached the quarter-finals.

"It was a bit of a laugh," explained Taylor, who pointed to his friendship with Swansea team-mate Gylfi Sigurdsson. "We have enjoyed Iceland all the way through, they've been unbelievable. Gylfi was talking to me back at Swansea what they were like. When you sit down and think about Iceland, the population, what they've done.... it's unbelievable, that applies to a lot of countries in this tournament."

Gunter admitted that being the last of the Home Nations in Euro 2016 was a source of some pride, but said that he did not want the Welsh players' glee to be misinterpreted.

"It may be easy to see it as over the top, but it wasn't meant that way," Gunter said. "If you ask the squad as a whole, maybe from a selfish point of view, we're ever so proud to be the last Home Nation team. We've come such a long way, and football has a funny way of bringing out emotions. It is fantastic for the tournament that Iceland are still in it."

Wales play their quarter-final against Belgium on Friday but it will be a difficult few days for Gunter, because his brother Marc is getting married in Mexico next week. This means that Gunter himself will almost certainly not be able to attend the wedding, especially if Wales beat Belgium and reach the semi-finals.

Marc flew from Gatwick airport to Mexico yesterday having been in France for Wales' first four Euro 2016 matches. Chris said that his brother was "devastated" to be missing the Belgium game, but his parents have had to cancel their re-arranged flights out to Mexico because they will be in Lille for the game.

"If you speak to my parents, they're fuming," Gunter said with a wry smile. "It's Marc's own fault. It's caused chaos. You wouldn't begin to imagine the trouble it's caused."

Taylor has had to make a sacrifice of his own, having booked tickets to see pop star Beyoncé at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff tomorrow. Taylor initially booked the tickets for his wife Genna-Lea but she is in France.

He is relishing Friday's game with Belgium and recalled playing away in October 2013 in the match when Belgium celebrated their qualification for the 2014 World Cup.

"We said this is exactly what we want, what they have just had," Taylor recalled. "We were thinking that is a nation that was expected to qualify and look at the euphoria. Now our aim is to be at the next tournament and the next tournament."

Belfast Telegraph