Ryan Giggs made history on Sunday 28th by becoming the oldest player to score a goal in the soccer category of an Olympic tournament. The Manchester United player was 38 years and 243 days old when he scored the goal with a header that helped the UK team to approach the quarterfinals.
However, Ryan Giggs name is not on people’s mouth because of his last goal, but because of a controversial political overtone. A Welsh player for the UK team Ryan Giggs, alongside his fellows Bellamy and Allen did not sing the ‘God Save the Queen’ anthem when it sounded, as the other members of the team did.
The UK national soccer team has 5 Welsh players, while the rest are English. It is well know that citizens from Scotland and Wales do not feel themselves as Brits, so that is the reason why Giggs and the others did not show much passion when the anthem was played. “It is a personal thing,” said the Manchester United player when asked about why he did not sing it. “’It’s difficult but it’s not an issue for us. It might be for other people but, once the game starts, we’re all pulling in the same direction and I think that’s the main thing,” he said to downplay the situation.
However this has not been the spark that provoked all the fires. Polemic started when the officials came up with the idea of having an UK soccer team for the London Olympics, something that has not happened since 1972, when the UK played its last official game in soccer.
Next the UK game against Uruguay will take place in the Millennium Stadium at Cardiff (Wales), so controversy may grow, since the national anthem may not be so warmly received in the Welsh capital. However, and despite not singing the anthem, soccer star Giggs has asked the Welsh fans to respect the UK colors: “I hope the National Anthem won’t get booed and I hope the fans will get behind us.”
A draw on Wednesday will be enough for UK to qualify to the quarter-final. However it will not be easy for the blues, especially taking into account that no one knows how the Welsh people will react, and whether they will, or won’t, support the UK team. Ryan Giggs has made the first step to look for a tacit agreement with the supporters despite his political beliefs.