After an agonizing 64-year-long wait, Wales returned to Football’s grandest stage last night, as they opened their World Cup campaign against the USA.
Fans of the Cymru flocked to Al Rayyan stadium in droves to witness the historic occasion, and seas of red dominated the stands on the night. Their passion was shared by the players, who took to the pitch with authority and played their hearts out.
Being such a momentous evening, the patriotism on display by the players was evident and emphatic. The Welsh contested with ferocity, every challenge was robust, the running was rampant and the mentality was excellent.
Despite trailing for the majority of the game, they managed to grab a late equalizer and earn a point against the impressive USA, concluding an emotional evening for Wales.
While the game was of grave importance to everybody on the pitch, it held even greater significance to Neco Williams.
The Nottingham Forest fullback started the game for his country and put on quite the shift, all while dealing with some tragic personal news.
The 21-year-old had received word of his grandad’s passing just a day before the game, leaving the former Liverpool player with plenty of grief.
However, he managed to soldier on, and brilliantly so, eventually dedicating his performance to his grandfather.
He went on to receive plenty of support from teammates and fans alike, including from those in attendance at the World Cup tie.
Despite being unaware of his personal circumstances, Wales supporters revealed a classy banner for their fullback and hyped him up with a neat rhyme.
Drawing comparisons with the ‘White Pele’ himself, the banner read, ‘Brazil had Zico, We have got Neco’.
To point out the obvious, yes Zico played in a different position with a better skill set, but who can say no to a rhyme? Even Brazilians on Twitter enjoyed the cheeky comparison, it’s all in good spirits after all.
Judging by last night, Williams looks like a key part of this Wales setup.
Fans will be hoping that he’s in a better headspace before Wales take on Iran on the 25th.