Lille, FRANCE | AFP |
Wales qualified for their first ever major tournament semi-final in their debut at the European Championship by coming from behind to beat Belgium 3-1 in Lille on Friday.
A mouthwatering semi-final meeting with Portugal will see Welsh star Gareth Bale go up against his Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo.
Here AFP Sports looks at the five key moments from the game:
Belgium three times unlucky
A strong Belgian start looked sure to be rewarded on seven minutes only for three desperate blocks on the Welsh line to save Chris Coleman’s side. Wayne Hennessey smothered Yannick Carrasco’s initial effort before Joe Allen and Neil Taylor put their bodies on the line to deny Thomas Meunier and Eden Hazard’s follow-up efforts.
The Red Devils’ pressure paid dividends in spectacular style when Radja Nainggolan connected sweetly to hammer a rising drive into the top corner from 25 metres for his second goal of the tournament.
Wales captain Ashley Williams had been a major doubt due to a shoulder injury picked up in the 1-0 last 16 win over Northern Ireland. However, his determination to play through the pain barrier proved vital when he stooped to head Aaron Ramsey’s corner into the far corner for a deserved equaliser after a strong Welsh response to going behind.
— UEFA EURO 2016 (@UEFAEURO) July 1, 2016
Released by Reading after just three goals in England’s second division this season, Hal Robson-Kanu now has two in two starts at Euro 2016.
His intricate turn away from a makeshift Belgian defence before slamming past Thibaut Courtois at the end of a flowing Welsh move was fitting of the achievement in booking Wales’ place in their first ever major tournament semi-final.
Vokes knockout blow
Just when Wales looked happy to settle on their lead to see out the dying moments, they grabbed a third when Sam Vokes, only on the field six minutes after replacing Robson-Kanu, powered home Chris Gunter’s cross.