Wales stalwart Chris Gunter has whinged at organizers of this summer’s pan-continental Euro 2020, calling it a “joke of a tournament” after his team were sent packing by Denmark in Amsterdam on Saturday.
Wales went down 4-0 to the resurgent Danes in the Dutch capital with Welsh fans vastly outnumbered by their Danish counterparts in the stands due to strict Covid regulations preventing travel from the UK.
Wales defender Gunter, who has 102 caps to his name for his country but was an unused substitute on Saturday, has now hit out at organizers of an event which saw Wales play two group-stage games in Baku and one in Rome, before they traveled to Amsterdam for their knockout clash with Denmark.
“So the journey of this month has come to an end. We did not deserve that scoreline but who said life was fair,” the Charlton Athletic player began in a lengthy Instagram post.
“It hurts like mad, but to be hurting with some of my best mates and best muckas I’ve shared a changing room with for years on years makes it a little easier. And to share it with a nation who all feel the same makes it even easier.
“Written off before a bag of air was kicked, 3,000 miles from home. Every nation had fans wherever they went, apart from the 350 [Welsh fans] who broke government rules and bank accounts to be there, you and us deserved more from this joke set up of a tournament, but who said life was fair.
“Have a cry, but then smile that we were dining at the top table yet again. And smile even more that we’ll be back, and we’ll be the ones with the full stadium belting out our anthem that we all deserve.
“This country is in safe hands with the squad we have believe me, I’d go to the trenches with every member of this team and staff. Be sad, but be proud, there’s only 3 million of us, but we are the f***ing lucky ones, and don’t you know it.
“Suck it up, keep your chin up, we’ll be alright, trust me on that. Genuinely thank you for all the support and love. See you soon. Gunts.”
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Minnows Wales were unable to repeat their heroics from five years in France, when they went on a surprise run all the way to the semi-finals before falling to eventual champions Portugal.
Amid defeat to Denmark this time round, Gunter wasn’t the only Welsh star left with a sour taste in his mouth.
Skipper Gareth Bale became instant meme material for his reaction during the VAR review which eventually saw the Danes complete their rout through Martin Braithwaite, whose goal was cleared by officials despite suggestions of offside.
Gareth Bale succinctly summing up everyone’s attitude towards VAR pic.twitter.com/IzwdPcDt4o
— Richard O'Reilly (@RM_oreilly) June 26, 2021
Real Madrid star Bale, 31, later stormed off from a post-match interview when asked about his international future.
Welsh fans are far from the only ones to face a travel headache due to the format of this summer’s delayed tournament. Denmark fans faced a mad dash to enter and exit the Netherlands within the space of 12 hours in order to avoid quarantine.
Elsewhere, Covid restrictions imposed by the Danish authorities meant thousands of Russian fans were unable to travel to watch their team play Denmark in Copenhagen during the group stage of the competition.