Family loyalties divided as England and Wales meet at World Cup

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Wales fan Gethin Mark Harris, from East Anglia by way of Swansea with England fan Jonathan Lowe, from Cambridge who lives in Poland (Bronwen Weatherby/PA) (PA Wire)

Families saw their loyalties divided as England and Wales met in the World Cup.

England set up a meeting with Senegal in last 16 stage of the competition, after beating Wales 3-0 to finish top of Group B.

A 1-0 win for the United States against Iran also saw them progress to the next stage of the tournament, and the defeat means that Wales have been knocked out of their first World Cup since 1958.

The crunch match dubbed the “Battle of Britain” saw some households divided for 90 minutes.

Kelly Robinson-Key, 34, is based in Carmarthenshire in South Wales and said her husband supported England while her daughter backed Wales.

She told the PA news agency that there were mixed emotions in her house after Wales were knocked out.

“I try to stay neutral as I don’t feel it would be fair on my daughter to be singled out as the only Welsh fan,” she said.

“My daughter was a bit sad but pleased her daddy’s team won.

“My husband is happy because he is now able to show his face at work tomorrow, but he does feel sad for Wales as he would like to have seen them through.”

Dr Alex Craven also saw his family split, tweeting before the game: “Brief discussion in our Anglo-Welsh household about tonight’s match.

“The 5yo has declared he’s going to support England, because he was born in England. The 3yo has decided to support Wales, because she wants to be a whale.”

Dr Craven, 44, from Tutshill in the Forest of Dean, told PA that although his daughter was disappointed by the lack of whales playing, she made up for it with her outfit choice.

He said: “She made up for it by wearing her shark-pattern beach shoes, and periodically declaring she was having a disco party – Wales could have done with a couple of whales in the box to block those shots.”

Dr Craven added that his Wales-supporting wife, Claire, is hopeful Wales do not have to wait another 64 years to reach another World Cup.

“Nice to see England scoring good goals, but it’s a shame it was so one-sided, even if there was nothing Wales could have done in the end any way,” he said.

“Claire’s pleased she guessed the right number of goals in the game. And with 48 teams qualifying next time, hopefully it won’t be another 64-year wait for the next World Cup.

“She says they’ll be back, just as soon as they’ve won the Euros.”

Wales fan Gethin Mark Harris, 58, from East Anglia by way of Swansea, told PA outside the stadium: “This is a hearts and heads story really, isn’t it?

“Of course I wanted Wales to win but England are a strong side.

“It was a case of getting the first half out the way and trying to score some goals – we’d have to have attacked to do that – but it didn’t work out that way.

“Obviously this is 64 years in the making and this is just the start, I think, because we’ve had a taste of what World Cup football is about.”

Standing next to him was Jonathan Lowe, 58, from Cambridge, who lives in Poland.

The two met on the trip and despite supporting rival teams were hugging after the match.

Mr Lowe said: “It was an exciting game, there’s no doubt, but football is about small margins and the first goal is critical. We definitely dominated Wales.

“I think it was a shame for Wales though. I’m an unusual Englishman – I support all the home nations when they are playing apart from when it’s against England.

“I think they lost it in the last game really. If they’d beat Iran, I think we would have seen a different Wales team tonight.”

Wales fan Huw Godfrey, 50, and England supporter Amy Godfrey, married after meeting in London 25 years ago and joked they would still be on speaking terms whatever the result.

Speaking outside the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium ahead of the game, teacher Mrs Godfrey said: “The children are never quite sure ‘do we support England, do we support Wales’ so we’ll see – they can support whoever wins.”

Mrs Godfrey said she believed England would win 3-1 while her husband, laughing, predicted “a good experience”.

Mr Godfrey, who works in audiovisual, said: “I think to have England and Wales playing each other in a World Cup finals is fantastic and I’m glad they’re in the same group, and we’re able to attend this game tonight.”

Mrs Godfrey added: “I was a bit disappointed and it’s a shame they weren’t separate and we could have gone a bit further (in the tournament), but Huw is just happy for the occasion.”

She also said: “We will be talking at the end of the game.”

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