An emotional Dafydd Iwan belted out “Yma o Hyd” along with the likes of Aaron Ramsay and Gareth Bale as Wales secured a World Championship Position for the first time in 64 years.
It may have been pouring rain in Wales on Sunday, but Cardiff City Stadium was a cauldron of noise from the first minute of the crucial play-off tie against Ukraine.
A deflected free-kick from the inevitable Gareth Bale helped Rob Page qualify for this winter’s tournament in Qatar and after the final whistle thousands of fans stayed to celebrate with their team.
In fact, Welsh folk singer Dafydd Iwan, who was invited to entertain the crowd ahead of the last two World Cup qualifiers, came onto the pitch to perform his iconic ‘Yma o Hyd’ song and the team sang along with him.
‘Yma o Hyd’ or ‘Still Here’ has become a national team anthem in recent years. So what does it mean?
A staunch nationalist, Iwan wrote the catchy song in 1982 to lift spirits, remind people to speak Welsh against all odds and show they’re still here.
Regarding the lyrics, “Er gwaetha pawb a phopheth / Ry’n ni yma o hyd” translates to “In spite of everything and everyone / We are still here”.
As mentioned, the 78-year-old has sung on numerous occasions ahead of some of Wales’ biggest games in recent times and he did so ahead of the Ukraine clash.
Rob Page dedicated the win to former Wales manager Gary Speed, who tragically took his own life in 2011.
“I said up front that Gary Speed started it 12 or 13 years ago,” Page said. “I want to dedicate this to Gary. He started culture 12 years ago. There was a difference, there was a change. The environment has completely changed.
“I inherited that, Chris Coleman took it and took it to another level, and I inherited this group.
“We’re going into the games confident now. We’re not hoping to qualify for the World Cup or the European Championships now, we think we can do it, so the mentality has changed massively too.”
Page continued, “I had a difficult decision to make tonight. I have guys like Harry Wilson and Brennan Johnson who’s going to be a superstar, don’t I. You have guys like him who didn’t start tonight. But we had our best 11 on the pitch.
“It’s encouraging, it’s good, we’re going in the right direction.
“We need to keep developing these young players, which we’ve been doing over the past few years, and it’s only going to get better for us.”