Olympic football: Team GB Cardiff quarter-final attracts thousands
- 5 August 2012
- From the section South East Wales
About 70,000 football fans were in Cardiff for Team GB's men's sell-out Olympic quarter-final against South Korea at the Millennium Stadium.
Organisers urged fans to arrive early as a late run on tickets meant 3,000 people were collecting paid-for tickets ahead of the match at 19:30 BST.
Heavy traffic on the M4 westbound for Cardiff eased as kick-off approached.
Extra train services were laid on as well as a shuttle bus between Cardiff and Newport.
Team GB went on to lose the match 5-4 on penalties.
Severe delays on the M4 westbound around Newport at 17:00 BST were thought to be due to a combination of people trying to get to the Olympic football and the eisteddfod at Llandow in the Vale of Glamorgan being hampered by bad weather conditions.
Traffic Wales reported that the congestion had eased by 19:00 BST.
Visitors to Cardiff city centre were hoping to avoid a repeat of the transport problems when Team GB played on Wednesday.
Long queues formed after "unprecedented number of passengers" used Cardiff Central station.
Passengers complained of "utter chaos" and being "herded like cattle".
Train companies apologised and said 19,500 people using the station was double the usual figure for a Millennium Stadium event.
Passengers were promised extra seats for Saturday's match with specific queues for those heading to Bristol Parkway, Bristol Temple Meads and London.
Contingency plans were also in place in the event of extra time or penalties.
Up to 3,000 fans picked up tickets on the day, and the ticket office at the Millennium Stadium's gate three in Westgate Street opened early.
Rain showers failed to dampen the atmosphere in the city on Saturday.
Visitors were entertained by music, dance and comedy in the Cardiff Carnival.
The event outside the central library was a smaller-scale version of the city's annual Big Weekend, not staged this year because of the Olympics.
The BBC Big Screen in The Hayes proved a popular place to gather and keep up with the day's action from London 2012.
Among the crowds were Lee Namkyung and Cho Sunghee, both 20, from Seoul, who flew to the UK five days ago to see South Korea play.
Ms Lee said: "Everyone in London and Cardiff has been so kind and helpful in giving us directions and showing us where to go."
Fans Mark and Leona Roberts, from Bristol, were in Cardiff with sons Jasper, eight, Sebastian, 11, and daughter Eloise, seven.
Mr Roberts, 43, said: "The public transport is great - the train was clean and we all had seats. No one had to stand."
He was also full of praise for the Welsh contingent of Team GB, saying: "Players like Giggs and Bellamy have really made a difference - they're pulling everyone else along."
Mick Gauntlet, 49, and his son Wes, 29, were down from Bradford for the match.
Mr Gauntlet said: "It's a great experience watching Team GB. It's a shame the Scots aren't joining in as they do for the hockey and other sports.
"But the Welsh guys have made all the difference - they've scored all the goals, haven't they?"
A number of road closures were in place in the city centre from 17:00 to 22:15 BST and Cardiff council has urged everyone going to matches to "follow the advice on their tickets, plan ahead, come early and enjoy all that the Welsh capital has to offer".
Environment Agency Wales warned that heavy showers were expected to affect most parts of Wales from Saturday morning, while some could cause disruption.
"Those travelling to events this weekend such as the eisteddfod in the Vale of Glamorgan and the Olympic football at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff should allow extra time for travel and to take care on the roads," said a spokesperson.
The National Eisteddfod runs until 11 August.
The Millennium Stadium will host its last match - the men's bronze medal play-off - on 10 August.
Eleven matches in total are taking place at the Millennium Stadium throughout the Games.
Organisers said they had been happy with attendances, with the lowest about 24,000 for the Japan v South Africa women's match.