The Welsh football team will be welcomed back as heroes on Friday afternoon after their unexpected run to the Euro 2016 semi-finals in France, with an open-top bus tour through Cardiff followed by a homecoming show.
The Welsh rock band Manic Street Preachers will play in honour of the team at Cardiff City stadium and tens of thousands of fans are expected to line the streets and provide their own musical accompaniment as the players’ bus makes its way from Cardiff castle to the ground.
But the squad, the first from Wales to reach a finals since 1958, will receive an ecstatic welcome from fans who have been thrilled at the exploits of Gareth Bale and his team-mates.
The chief executive of the Football Association of Wales, Jonathan Ford, said: “We feel this event is a great way of everyone celebrating what has been a historic period for Welsh football. The scenes we have seen both at home and over in France have been fantastic and we hope that our passionate supporters can enjoy another moment with the players to end a memorable few weeks.”
Turnstiles at the stadium will open at 5pm. There will be entertainment on stage from 5.15pm – including music from Manic Street Preachers – and a players and staff presentation will begin at 6.45pm. There will also be a question and answer session with players and their management on stage.
The open-top bus tour is due to start at Cardiff castle at 4pm and ends at the stadium at 5.30pm. Further details about the route will be published later on Thursday.
Cardiff City stadium has a capacity of 33,000. The city’s much larger Principality stadium, which hosts international rugby and football matches and showed the Portugal match on a big screen, is being prepared for a speedway event on Saturday and cannot be used.
This article was written by Steven Morris, for theguardian.com on Thursday 7th July 2016 11.40 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010