Bale plays star role in British battle clash

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LocalprideisatstakeonThursdayasanall-BritishclashbetweenEnglandandWalesandoldrivalsGermanyandPolanddominateaEuro2016dayofhightension。

FearsofarepeatofviolencethatmarredEnglands1-1drawagainstRussiainMarseillelastweekendhaveseenaclampdownonalcoholsaleswith50?

000fansexpectedtodescendonthenorthernFrenchcityofLens。

Onthefield,alleyesareonwhethersuperstarGarethBalecanliveuptohisclaimsthatWaleshavemorepassionandthatnoEnglishplayerwouldevengetintoChrisColemansside。

BaleshoneasWaleswontheirfirstevergameinaEuropeanChampionshipfinals2-1overSlovakiawiththeRealMadridacefiringhomeatrademarkfree-kick。

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Slovakias2-1winagainstRussiaonWednesdaymeansWalescanguaranteetopspotinGroupBandputEnglandonthebrinkofeliminationwithvictory。

EnglandbossRoyHodgsonwasquicktofendoffBalescommentshavingpreviouslylabelledtheworldsrichestplayerdisrespectfulofhissquad。

ItsamatteroftotaldisinteresttomebecausenoneofthoseWelshplayersareavailabletoplayforEngland,saidHodgson。

However,theformerLiverpoolmanagerinsistedhedoeswelcometheextrahypecreatedbyabattleofBritain。

Thederbyatmosphere,thatsgreat,hesaid

Itisagamebetweenbrothers,ifyoulike。

Itaddsspice,addsinterest。

ThatssomethingwhichIcanonlywelcome。

Ifanything,itheightenstheoccasion,ratherthanlessensit。

HodgsoncouldturntothefirepowerofLiverpoolstrikerDanielSturridgeorheroofLeicesterCitysfairytalePremierLeaguetriumphJamieVardyafterEnglandfailedtotakeahostofchancesagainsttheRussians。

PolandbelievetheycanupsettheworldchampionsinParisinthebattletotopGroupC,afterendingan81-yearwaittobeatGermanyinqualifying。

VictoryforeithersidewillalmostcertainlysealaplaceintheknockoutstageafterPolandsawoffNorthernIrelandandGermanybeatUkraineintheiropeninggames。

SuperstarPolishstrikerRobertLewandowskiwillcomeupagainstanumberofhisBayernMunichteammatesasGermanymakeanemotionalreturntotheStadedeFrancejustsevenmonthsafterbeingcaughtupinlastNovembersattacksintheFrenchcapital。

ThePoleshavenointentionofgoingeasyonJoachimLoewsmen,though,havinglivedintheGermansshadowuntila2-0victoryinWarsawinthe19thmeetingbetweenthesidesinOctober2014。

Werespecttheopponent,butnooneisafraid,saidPolandcoachAdamNawalka。

Itwasanimportantstepinourprogressiontoplaybetterandbetter。

NorthernIrelandbossMichaelONeilwantsmoregritfromhissideforwhathecalledaCupfinalagainstUkrainelookingtostayintheracetoreachthelast16。

NorthernIrelands12-matchunbeatenrunendedwithdefeattoPolandintheirEuropeanchampionshipdebut。

Wemustbringtheuglysidetoourgametomorrownight,saidONeil。

WehavetotreatthislikeaCupfinal,becauseweknowthesignificanceofthethreepoints。


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