The late Gary Speed was remembered
on Wednesday by players, managers and thousands of banner-waving
fans as Wales lost 1-0 to Costa Rica in a friendly held on an
emotionally-charged night at Cardiff City's stadium.
Former Wales internationals Ryan Giggs, John Hartson, Mark
Hughes and Neville Southall were among those who attended the
memorial match for former manager Speed.
The national football association said the game was staged
"to celebrate the life and achievements of a great servant to
Welsh football both as a player and manager."
Speed, found dead at his home in November, won the first of
his 85 caps against Costa Rica in May 1990.
After taking over as Wales manager in December 2010, he
revived the team's fortunes.
While spectators held aloft banners reading "Gary Speed:
Legend," captain Craig Bellamy led out the late manager's two
sons Ed and Tom from the tunnel before a minute's applause was
"It was all very difficult for us tonight under the
circumstances... this night was for one guy and it was important
for all of us to show support and celebrate his life... but
obviously we are all still grieving over the loss of him," Chris
Coleman, who was seen hugging Speed's parents before the start
of the match, told Sky Sports after his first game as Wales
"We knew this game was coming but we weren't looking forward
to it. We had to do it because it needed to be done for a top
fella... it's the least he deserved. We all miss Speeds."
Striker Joel Campbell put Costa Rica ahead in the seventh
minute following a sublime one-two with Bryan Ruiz.
Wales came close to equalising on at least three occasions
in the second half but Steve Morrison hit the crossbar, Bellamy
shot over the bar and Hal Robson-Kanu's effort was brilliantly
blocked by goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
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