Friday, 1 July 2016

Going Over The Top

One Hundred Years ago today, the British Army embarked on yet another in a long line of needless advances down the muzzles of enemy guns. If in the charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimean War, it cost six hundred or so lives, or the one thousand or so lost in the first Zulu war at the battle of Iswandala. The battle of the Somme, which began on July 1st 1916, cost the British army a staggering sixty thousand or so dead in one day, the exact figure has never been confirmed.

As ever, you are wondering where this is going, well on a personal note, my late father was born in 1916 while his father, the grandfather I never knew, was fighting in the trenches. The stories I heard about him helped me understand why in the 1930's people wanted to believe in appeasement, for the horrors they had experienced in the trenches led to the cry "Never again".
Welsh War Memorial at Mametz Wood

A number of Welsh battalions fought at the Somme, including the 38th division who lost some four thousand men overall in three days fighting and as the Welsh dragon prepares once again to do battle in the fields of France, I thought that people should be aware of what a battle was once like.rather than the virtual field of battle that is the football field. Lest we forget to quote Kipling. This clip from the end of BlackAdder sums it up best

Good luck everybody

So the Welsh, are hoping, that the fields of France will not be once more turned red in defeat by the country that all were trying to save during World War I, that being Belgium.

Wales are having a great time, despite losing to England, they won their group thanks to English ineptitude which ultimately as we are all aware led to their early exit from the tournament. The Welsh then eased passed Northern Ireland, but today comes their first real test against a Belgium side who looked very good in their four to nothing demolition of Hungary and finally began to look like the number two ranked side in the world.

On the other hand in qualifying, the Welsh managed to beat and draw with the Belgians, so they will not be overawed, but probably the Welsh fairy tale shall come to an end tonight.

Tomorrow night, we have the Nationalmannschaft against Italy, a real Clash of the Titans, between the best two teams in the tournament so far. If as I wrote before Italy v Spain, those two teams had won a lot of titles, then when you combine Italy and Shermany you get even more. The Shermans have won 4 world cups as have the Italians but also three Euros as opposed to Italy's one, giving us a total of 12 between them..

Everywhere I see or hear about this game I learn the same thing, but as I know I am the sole source of information for some of you about this tournament, it would be remiss of me not to repeat it. Strangely enough the Nationalmannschaft have never overcome the Azurri in a major competition.

The two most famous meetings were in the 1970 World Cup Semi-Final which Italy won 4-3 after extra time and the final in 1982 which Italy won 3-1.The Azurri also won in the 2006 world cup and most recently in the 2012 Euros. In the first clip you can see highlights from 1970, apologises for the French commentary and in the 2nd, from 1982,

Never give up

Once Again

Impossible to predict who will win this one, as I wrote before the Poland v Portugal game, we can only hope for a good game. That game provided one good half, let us hope we get full entertainment tomorrow.
On Sunday we will look forward to Iceland v France.


  1. Matteo Darmian to score the winner!

    1. We're off to Italian Alps for a few days next week. Will take the last 2 clips with us......

    2. We're off to Italian Alps for a few days next week. Will take the last 2 clips with us......

    3. good penalty by Darmian