Hard-working Wales secure a semi-final spot

Wales came from a goal down in Lille to defeat Belgium 3-1 with a magnificent performance that guaranteed a place in the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

Sam Vokes of Wales scoring their third goal during their UEFA EURO 2016 quarter final match against Belgium
Sam Vokes of Wales scoring their third goal during their UEFA EURO 2016 quarter final match against Belgium

The Belgians started on the attack and had a good chance after seven minutes. The Red Devils picked out Carrasco at the back post, but the Atletico man was denied by Hennessey. The follow-up was lashed at goal, but Taylor made a goal-line block, before a second rebound was struck directly at Allen.

Wales responded on the 10th minute when Bale drove down the left-hand side and blasted a powerful effort which ended up into the side netting.

Three minutes later, Belgium went in front after a stunning strike from Nainggolan. The Roma midfielder took aim from 30 yards, and thumped a wonderful effort into the top-left corner to score his second goal in the competition.

Courtois saved the Belgians on the 25th minute when he produced a great save to deny Ramsey. The Arsenal midfielder cut back a brilliant pass from the right, finding Taylor in the box. The Swansea left back hammered a shot at goal that was saved by the Belgian goalkeeper.

Chris Coleman’s side equalised five minutes later through Ashley Williams. From a corner, the Welsh captain steered a low header inside the right hand post to put his side level.

Belgium had a good chance to regain the lead two minutes from the beginning of the second half after Meunier whipped in a teasing cross from the right-hand side that found Lukaku. The Everton attacker flicked a header that went inches wide of the pack post.

However, it was the Welsh team who went ahead on the 55th minute. Ramsey broke down the right-hand side brilliantly, before finding Robson Kanu in the box. The ex-Reading striker turned inside both Denayer and Meunier and slotted a low finish beyond Courtois' grasp.

Fellaini was close to score an equaliser for Belgium on the 73rd minute. Alderweireld went down the right hand side, and picked out the Manchester United player at the back post. However, the Belgian substitute planted his header beyond the far post from an ideal position.

On the 83rd minute, Belgium protested for a penalty after Nainggolan went down in the penalty area, claiming a foul by Williams, but the referee waved play on to the relief of the Welsh supporters.

Wales responded two minutes later with another goal that ensured their first ever semi-final at a major tournament. Gunter broke to the right and curled a cross into the penalty area that was met by Vokes. The substitute guided a header across goal, finding the inside of the far post to send the Welsh supporters into a euphoria.

The only disappointing element for Wales on one of the most famous sporting nights in the country’s history were bookings to Ben Davies and Ramsey  which rule them out of the semi-final.

Following this result, Wales will now face Portugal in a historic semi-final for the nation.

Belgium starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Courtois; Meunier, Denayer, Alderweireld, J. Lukaku; Witsel, Nainggolan; Carrasco, De Bruyne, Hazard; R. Lukaku.

Wales starting line-up (3-4-2-1): Hennessey; Chester, A. Williams, Davies; Gunter, Ledley, Allen, Taylor; Ramsey, Bale; Robson-Kanu.

Yellow cards

Davies (Wales), Chester (Wales), Gunter (Wales), Fellaini (Belgium), Ramsey (Wales), Alderweireld (Belgium).

Referee

Damir Skomina (Slovenia)

More in Euro 2016
Portugal snatch Euro 2016
Football
Warren Zammit
Preview: France vs Portugal
Football
Warren Zammit
France beat Germany to reach Euro 2016 final
Bet on Euro 2016 with WinToday