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Wales’ players mark of respect to fans inside opening Euro 2020 game

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Wales’ players turned to their fans during their national anthem in a classy show of respect to those who travelled to watch their opening Euro 2020 match against Switzerland in Azerbaijan. 

Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale led out the Dragons’ side in Baku and urged his team-mates to turn to the small contingent of Wales fans inside the stadium to sing their national anthem, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau.

Wales opened their Euro 2020 campaign against Switzerland, drawing 1-1 thanks to Kieffer Moore’s thumping second-half header. 

The striker had cancelled out Breel Embolo’s opener. 

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Switzerland had a late goal ruled out for offside. 

But the match will be better remembered by Wales fans for the players’ display of respect before the match. 

Supporters had actually been ecouraged not to travel out to Baku, with Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford warning about the potential coronavirus implications of those who attended the game at the Baku Olympic Stadium. 

Drakeford said: “June will be an exciting month for our national men’s football team and for our brilliant supporters.

“We all want to see Wales repeat the success of 2016 – competing in Euro 2020 is a superb achievement and we will all want to follow the team’s progress.

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“Everyone has shown great team spirit during the pandemic, looking out for each other to keep Wales safe.

“Unfortunately, the pandemic isn’t over yet and this means we still need to make some changes to our lives to stay safe.

“For football fans, the best way to show your support for Wales is to stay in Wales and support the team from home.

“It’s our very clear advice that you shouldn’t travel – France, Azerbaijan and Italy are on the amber list because the virus is in circulation there.”

A small contingent of the 70,000-strong crowd witnessed their side earn a point in their opening Euro 2020 match. 

Interim boss Rob Page has taken a young squad for group matches against the Swiss, Italy and Turkey. 

Ahead of the tournament, Page said: “We’ve got young, ambitious and hungry players coming into the squad that want their jerseys,” Page said ahead of the match.

“There’s a good blend and on top of that they’re good characters.

“I liken it to a club environment and that is hard to achieve when you’ve only got them for sporadic moments throughout the year.

“There’s absolutely no fear with youngsters. You’ve seen that with Rubin, he belongs here.

“Look at Joe Morrell’s performance against France. He was like ‘give me the ball’, he wanted to be the best player on the pitch.

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“We’ve got hungry players like that. It’s not just about having talented footballers.

“It’s about the right characters as well and all our players have got that.”

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