Wales To Face Costa Rica In Gary Speed Memorial Match (PICTURES)

Gary Speed

The Huffington Post UK   First Posted: 29/02/2012 15:16 Updated: 14/03/2012 17:21

Chris Coleman will tonight lead Wales out at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium for the country's first football international since former manager Gary Speed's death last year.

The new manager, an international team-mate of the late Speed, will oversee his first match in charge against Costa Rica, in an evening expected to be full of emotion as tributes are paid to the former Newcastle United midfielder.

Among 50 stars to be introduced at half-time are ex-Wales internationals Ryan Giggs, John Hartson, Mark Hughes, Neville Southall and Robbie Savage while homegrown musical talents such as the Super Furry Animals and Bryn Terfel will perform.

Stereophonics frontman Kelly Jones has recorded an acoustic version of Andy Williams' classic Can't Take My Eyes Off You in memoriam. The song became an adopted anthem of Welsh football fans during Speed's international career after it was used in a BBC Wales promo for the 1994 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Welsh boxer Joe Calzaghe will be in attendance:


Joe Calzaghe
On way back to Wales. at the Gary Speed testimonial tonight to celebrate the life of a great man!

Speed committed suicide on 27 November aged 42, having overseen an impressive 4-1 win for the Dragons over Norway just 15 days earlier.

The coroner at his inquest said he could not be satisfied the Premier League veteran had intentionally tried to kill himself.

The Football Association of Wales has already tweeted a tribute:


FA Wales
Today Welsh football celebrates the life of Gary Speed - Father. Husband. Son. Player. Manager. Legend.

Speed's father Roger will give a speech to the matchday squad prior to kick-off, while a number of charities nominated by Speed's family will benefit from the match.

View the gallery charting Speed's eventful career with the Welsh national side:

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  • Soccer - Barclays League Division One - Leeds United v Norwich City - Elland Road

    Leeds United's Gary Speed lifts the League Championship trophy

  • Soccer. Everton v Borussia Monchengladbach

    Gary Speed, Everton

  • Soccer - FA Carling Premiership - Leeds United v Everton - Elland Road

    Gary Speed, Everton

  • Soccer - FA Premier League - Leeds United v Wimbledon - Elland Road

    Gary Speed, Leeds United

  • Leeds fans pay tribute to Gary Speed

    Fans stand around the shrine to Gary Speed, at the Billy Bremner statue outside Leeds United football ground, Elland Road.

  • Soccer - Barclay's League Division One - Leeds United v Tottenham Hotspur - Elland Road

    Leeds United's Gary Speed (l) and David Batty jump for joy and celebrate in style after Speed's equaliser

  • Soccer - Pre-Season Tournament - Cork City v Leeds United

    Gary Speed, Leeds United

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Newcastle United v Swansea City - Sport Direct Arena

    Newcastle United fans pay tribute to the late Gary Speed

  • Soccer - FA Barclays Premiership - Bolton Wanderers v Liverpool - The Reebok Stadium

    Bolton Wanderers' Gary Speed celebrates scoring from a free kick.

  • Soccer - UEFA Euro 2012 - Qualifying - Group G - Wales v Montenegro - Cardiff City Stadium

    Wales Manager Gary Speed shouts his instructions during the European Championship Qualifying match at the Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff.

  • Gary Speed death

    Everton fans Frank and Tracy Fawcett add to tributes left outside the gates to Goodison Park in Liverpool, as Gary Speed, 42, manager of Wales' national football team, was found dead at his home on Sunday.

  • Soccer - Gary Speed Tributes

    Tributes are laid around the Statue of Leed's United Legend Billy Bremner outside Elland Road, Leeds.

  • Soccer - npower Football League Championship - Cardiff City v Birmingham City - Cardiff City Stadium

    Shirts left in respect of Wales manager Gary Speed outside the gates to Cardiff City's Ninian Park

  • Leeds fans pay tribute to Gary Speed

    Fans stand around the shrine to Gary Speed, at the Billy Bremner statue outside Leeds United football ground, Elland Road.

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Blackburn Rovers v Swansea City - Ewood Park

    Swansea City take part in a minutes applause for Gary Speed prior to the Barclays Premier League match at Ewood Park, Blackburn.

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Newcastle United v Chelsea - Sports Direct Arena

    Newcastle United shirts with a message for the late Gary Speed is left outside the Sports Direct Arena

  • Newcastle United v Leicester

    Newcastle's Gary Speed receives his award for his 400th Premiership appearance by manager Bobby Robson before the Barclaycard Premiership match at St James's Park, Newcastle, THIS PICTURE CAN ONLY BE USED WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF AN EDITORIAL FEATURE. NO WEBSITE/INTERNET USE UNLESS SITE IS REGISTERED WITH FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION PREMIER LEAGUE.

  • Soccer - FA Carling Premiership - Leeds United v Queens Park Rangers - Elland Road

    GARY SPEED, LEEDS UNITED, GOES PAST DAVID BARDSLEY, QUEENS PARK RANGERS.

  • Soccer - FA Carling Premiership - Bolton Wanderers v Everton

    Bolton V Everton : Everton Capt Gary Speed lets fly in the opening minutes but the ball goes wide of the Bolton goal. Photo by Dave Kendall/PA.

  • Soccer - World Cup Qualifier - Wales v Belgium

    Gary Speed, Wales

  • Soccer - FA Carling Premiership - Leeds United v Everton - Elland Road

    Gary Speed, Everton

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