Sometimes, when you are a sub, you think up a great headline. Even better is when you know it’s almost certainly going to be the the front page splash. So there must have been gnashing of teeth back in Blighty last Friday night, when all Saturday’s front pages went live on the websites after England had drawn 0-0 with the USA. Never mind, chaps and chapesses. Now England are through to the next round, there will be another chance to pull out the pencil.
In other World Cup news it has been officially confirmed that not only do the Welsh have the best anthem on the planet but they also are the best singers. This has been well known in Britain and Ireland for decades where we have the Six Nations, an annual rugby tournament, to thank. But because Wales has been unavoidably absent from the football World Cup since 1958, most of the rest of the world has never seen and heard the full-on experience of a rendition of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau on a sporting occasion. (And the ones in Qatar weren’t even the best versions I’ve ever heard, with the music played too fast: hear it sung at home in Cardiff for the ultimate experience.) But it was still a winner with our friends from far places, such as Ella Brockway of the Washington Post who purred ecstatically: ‘The Welsh national anthem is elite. Runaway winner of the World Cup of National Anthems Bracket, imo.’
Click on the coverage on ITV News to check it out.
The BBC also has a story about the anthem, and has conveniently published the lyrics with a translation for us mere mortals:
Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn annwyl i mi (This land of my fathers is dear to me)
Gwlad beirdd a chantorion, enwogion o fri (Land of poets and singers, and people of stature)
Ei gwrol ryfelwyr, gwladgarwyr tra mad (Her brave warriors, fine patriots)
Tros ryddid gollasant eu gwaed (Shed their blood for freedom)
Gwlad, Gwlad, pleidiol wyf i’m gwlad (Land! Land! I am true to my land)
Tra môr yn fur i’r bur hoff bau (As long as the sea serves as a wall)
O bydded i’r heniaith barhau (For this pure, dear land, may the language endure forever)
A bit of Googling has unearthed this version. 2013 in Cardiff before a rugby match v. England. Sung without a band, by the crowd in harmony.