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Euro 2016: Wales stun Belgium 3-1 to setup Portugal semi-final

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Gareth Bales' Wales will take on Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in the semi-finals of Euro 2016 in Lyon on Wednesday after the former booked their place in the final 4 of a major tournament for the first time in their history courtesy of a stunning 3-1 win against pre-tournament favourites Belgium in Lille on Friday night.

Playing in front of 12,000+ Wales fans at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Wales were being run ragged in the early exchanges with an excellent save from Wayne Hennessey, a goal-line clearance from Welsh defenders, and then a last ditch block denying Belgium from taking a lead inside the opening moments of the contest.

Belgium did get the early goal their play deserved when Radja Nainggolan took on a shot from distance after having been given too much space by the Welsh midfield and smashed home from 25 yards out with Hennessey getting fingertips to the ball, but unable to keep the powerful shot out of his net.

To their credit Wales did well to recover from falling behind early and enjoying a good spell of possession to allow themselves to play their way into the game. Belgium were guilty of giving Wales time and space on the ball, rather than making the most of their early advantage.

Neil Taylor should have brought Wales back on level terms after having been expertly found in the box by Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey, but the Swansea wing-back's right footed shot was too close to Thibaut Courtois, who was allowed to make a save when he really should have been given no chance.

Wales did grab an equalizer shortly after as Ramsey's perfectly delivered corner was headed home unmarked from 5 yards out by Welsh skipper Ashley Williams, who did well to get into a crowd of players and then escape from his marker.

The teams went into the break on level pegging, and shortly after Romelu Lukaku failed to guide a free-header of his own into the Wales net, the minnows went down the other end and took the lead.

Aaron Ramsey moved into space down the right hand channel and delivered in a good ball to Hal Robson-Kanu. The goal though was all about the striker just recently released from his contract by Reading as the left-footer turned his marker, left him for dead and then produced a powerful finish which raced past Courtois.

Belgium should really have drawn level when substitute Marouane Fellaini rose comfortably to beat James Chester in the air, but somehow managed to direct his header wide of target.

And Wales were to make the game safe in the 85th minute when their own substitute Sam Vokes showed better accuracy in the air as he met Chris Gunter's cross from the right wing and deftly headed it into the far corner to set off while celebrations amongst the Welsh fans.

Today will probably go down in Welsh history as the side's greatest ever performance, unless they can top it off on Wednesday with a win over fancied but far from productive Portugal. Wales will need to do it the hardway though with both Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey and Tottenham's Ben Davies suspended for that match after collecting crucial yellow cards today.


Wales: Hennessey, Chester, Ashley Williams, Davies, Taylor, Allen, Ledley (King 77'), Ramsey (Collins 88'), Gunter, Robson-Kanu (Vokes 80'), Bale.

Subs: Fon Williams, King, George Williams, Edwards, Richards, Cotterill, Vokes, Collins, Jonathan Williams, Vaughan, Church, Ward.

Belgium: Courtois, Meunier, Alderweireld, Denayer, Jordan Lukaku (Mertens 75'), Nainggolan, Witsel, Carrasco (Fellaini 46'), De Bruyne, Hazard, Romelu Lukaku.

Subs: Mignolet, Mertens, Origi, Kabasele, Dembele, Benteke, Batshuayi, Ciman, Gillet.

Final Score: Wales 3-1 Belgium (Nainggolan 13', Williams 30', Robson-Kanu 55', Vokes 85')