Wales star Williams’ heartbreak after grandad dies before World Cup

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Wales star Neco Williams paid a heartbreaking tribute to his late grandfather after revealing he had learnt of his death only a day before the World Cup in Qatar began. The defender was seen in floods of tears after the final whistle following Wales’ 1-1 draw with the USA as it emerged that he was one of two players mourning the death of a family member.

The 22-year-old was informed of the passing of his grandad Kelvin Jones only one day before the tournament began in the Middle East after speaking to his mother. Despite receiving the tragic news, Williams declared himself fit to play the opening match and produced a committed performance before he was substituted after 79 minutes.

After the final whistle, Williams was visibly upset and was consoled by his manager Robert Page as well as his team-mates as he went over to thank the passionate Wales supporters.

He was spotted by television cameras mouthing the words ‘That was for you, Grandad’, and the Nottingham Forest defender later explained why he had become overwhelmed with emotion with a social media post.

“Yesterday was the toughest news I’ve ever had to face and that was listening to my mum tell me my grandad past away last night,” Williams tweeted from his official account after the game.

“To go from crying all day to start in a World Cup game was extremely tough but I got through it from the support of my team-mates and family. So I dedicate that game and an important point to him.”

Williams was not alone in coping with the death of a family member, as it later emerged his team-mate Connor Roberts had also lost his grandfather. He said on Instagram: “To represent my country at a World Cup was incredible and something that can never be taken away from me. From Crynant to Qatar and I loved every minute!

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“On Tuesday morning before we flew I got the message that my Dadcu had passed away. This achievement was for him, and I hope I made him, and all my family/friends proud.”

Wales’ first game in the World Cup since 1958 and it appeared as if they would be heading for defeat after a first-half strike from Timothy Weah.

But the Welsh – spurred on by half-time substitute Kieffer Moore – fought back valiantly and grabbed a deserved equaliser from the penalty spot after Zimmerman fouled Bale inside the box, with the 32-year-old picking himself up to fire past Matt Turner.

Page’s men face Iran next in a crucial encounter in Group B on Friday after their entertaining draw at the Al Rayyan Stadium, before facing England in an all-British clash on Tuesday, November 29.

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