Ryan Giggs has called on Welsh fans not to boo God Save the Queen before Great Britain's match against Uruguay on Wednesday.
Stuart Pearce has left it up to the players to decide whether to sing the words and the Welsh contingent opted not to once again prior to last night’s 3-1 victory over United Arab Emirates at Wembley.
Wales internationals are usually prefaced with their anthem, Land of My Fathers, and a large number of Welsh supporters voiced their disapproval for God Save the Queen when it was played for England during their Euro 2012 qualifier at the Millennium Stadium in March last year.
The anthem will be played at the same venue for Team GB on Wednesday amid fears Welsh fans will react in a similar fashion and Giggs stressed the importance of unity on and off the pitch to help their bid to reach the quarter-finals.
“I hope the anthem is not an issue,” he said. “I hope the fans get behind us and that’s the main thing. Once the game starts, I am sure the fans will get behind us like they have done in the previous two games.
“It will mean a lot to all the Welsh lads to play in our backyard and what is a great stadium. Hopefully it is a great atmosphere. It is my decision [not to sing the anthem]. The problem is the British anthem is the same as the English anthem so for a Welshman or a Scotsman, it is difficult.
“It is not an issue for us, it might be an issue for other people but once the game starts, we are all pulling in the right direction and I think that is the main thing.”
Giggs was taken off after 72 minutes last night but played down any injury concerns, admitting to a slight hamstring problem but insisting the condition is manageable.
Great Britain’s bid to qualify from Group A is equally controllable after an encouraging success thanks to goals from Giggs and substitutes Scott Sinclair and Daniel Sturridge.
The Manchester United winger paid tribute to the strength in depth Great Britain have at their disposal and claims the team will find greater cohesion as the tournament progresses.
He said: “We showed a lot of character in both games — we went 1-1 against Senegal and then hit the crossbar so we could quite easily have won that.
“Last night, with a team that have not been together too long, we pulled in the right direction. Stuart has been saying that all 18 men are going to be vital and he proved that last night.
“A lot of the other teams have had better preparation, have been together longer and had more games. We knew that if we could get the results then hopefully as the tournament went on, we would get stronger.”
Great Britain are level on points with Senegal, who beat Uruguay 2-0 yesterday. Only a victory against Uruguay will guarantee qualification for the last eight and Pearce said: “The pressure goes up again one more notch. It’s us or Uruguay come Wednesday evening.”Reuse content