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

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Gary Speed was capped 85 times by Wales
Gary Speed was capped 85 times by Wales

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:

Gary Speed
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