While the unsavoury scenes of fighting has dominated the early stages of Euro 2016, Wales and England are preparing for a fight of their own.
Unlike what we’ve seen on the streets of France in the opening few days of the competition, this fight won’t involve violence. It will involve passion and two rival nations facing each other in a crunch match.
But we don’t need to wait until 2pm on Thursday for the battle to commence because the war of words is well underway.
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After England’s disappointing 1-1 draw with Russia on Saturday, coupled with Wales’ 2-1 victory against Slovakia, the Three Lions know they are under a lot of pressure.
And Wales superstar Gareth Bale has done his best to heap the pressure on Roy Hodgson’s side by questioning the passion of the English side.
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However, his latest comments could serve as the ultimate motivation for England ahead of the Group B fixture. When asked how many of the English squad would get into the Welsh side, Bale replied “none” before laughing.
The England player will no doubt find these comments amusing but the supporters certainly didn't. They hit back at Bale on Twitter and here are some of the best tweets:
The Real Madrid winger surely doesn’t actually believe that but it’s just another attempt of mind-games from Bale. Earlier this week, he claimed that Chris Coleman’s side have “more pride and passion” than England, while claiming the English “big themselves up before they’ve done anything.”
Hodgson hits back
Those comments didn’t go down well in the English camp with Hodgson hitting back saying: “The fact is that receiving disrespectful comments is part and parcel of being a footballer and a football coach,” said Hodgson.
“It’s a passionate dressing room and I would recommend anybody who does have any doubts about players in that respect to just watch the game against Russia and then come to me afterwards and tell me where they have seen that lack of passion and that lack of patriotism because I certainly didn’t see it.”
While skipper Wayne Rooney also disagreed with Bale’s quotes.
“That’s what he (Bale) feels,” he said.
“I’m sure all us English players will feel different but he’s obviously a proud Welshman, which he should be. It’s where he’s from. We’re from England and we’re very proud Englishmen.
“You have to be proud to play for your country. I’ve said it many times and I’m sure the other lads have. We are proud, otherwise we wouldn’t be here.”
The talking will no doubt continue for another 48 hours but then Bale and Rooney will go head-to-head on the pitch as they hope to help their country progress to the knockout rounds.
It’s now England’s job to make Bale look foolish for his comments and to prove there are plenty of players capable of getting to Wales’ side.
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