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Glorious Wales reach semis

Sky Sports Sky Sports 1/07/2016

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On the greatest night in their football history, Wales beat Belgium 3-1 to reach the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

Second-half goals from Hal Robson-Kanu and Sam Vokes sealed an amazing comeback victory for Chris Coleman's men after Ashley Williams had equalised Radja Nainggolan's early strike in Lille.

The result means Wales will play in the first major semi-final in their history against Portugal in Lyon on Wednesday after knocking out the number two side in FIFA's world rankings.

Belgium dominated the opening stages of this quarter-final and a seventh-minute scramble somehow failed to produce the first goal as Yannick Ferreira Carrasco fired straight at Wayne Hennessey before Neil Taylor blocked Thomas Meunier's follow-up effort and Ashley Williams and Ben Davies combined to stop Eden Hazard scoring.

And from Kevin De Bruyne's subsequent corner, Romelu Lukaku was too slow to react and poke a simple chance into the net from inside the six-yard box.

But the deadlock was broken on 13 minutes as Nainggolan received the ball from Eden Hazard in a pocket of space 25 yards from goal and released a sweet, swerving drive which Hennessey's fingertips could not stop.

Wales should have equalised on 26 minutes when Aaron Ramsey cut the ball back to Taylor on the edge of the six-yard box but he was denied by the desperate dive of Thibaut Courtois when he looked certain to score.

However the leveller arrived five minutes later when Ashley Williams inexplicably found himself unmarked to head home Ramsey's corner with De Bruyne failing to clear on the line.

Gareth Bale's near-post run had perhaps distracted the Belgian markers - and moments later Wales' star man was on the attack again, but failed to beat Courtois after breaking from the half-way line.

Ashley Williams almost repeated his goalscoring exploits, heading over from a corner after Ramsey's strike had deflected wide, as a thrilling first-half ended level.

Belgium looked the most likely scorers immediately after the break with Romelu Lukaku flicking a golden headed chance wide, De Bruyne hitting a hopeful effort above Hennessey's crossbar and Hazard cutting in and curling a shot across the face of goal and wide.

But it was Wales who scored the third goal of the game - and in sensational style.

Bale's long pass found Ramsey inside the area and he played in Robson-Kanu with his back to goal under close attention from Meunier and substitute Marouane Fellaini.

And the out-of-contract striker showed sublime skill to beat both Belgians with a Cruyff turn before lashing a goal past Courtois which will go down in Welsh folklore as one of the greatest in the nation's history.

Belgium pushed in vain for an equaliser with Fellaini heading a simple chance wide from six yards and there was a sour note for Wales on 75 minutes as Ramsey received his second booking of the tournament for a soft handball, ruling him out of the semi-final along with Ben Davies.

Davies might have seen red when tripping Romelu Lukaku on the edge of the area and Belgium were furious with the officials when Ashley Williams appeared to foul Nainggolan in the area with seven minutes to play.

But Wales' luck held out and Vokes, who had replaced Robson-Kanu, sealed a historic triumph by leaping to head home Chris Gunter's right-wing cross on 85 minutes.

The full-time whistle was greeted by rapturous celebrations and Coleman's side are now just one game from completing an unlikely run to the final of Euro 2016.


Wales: Hennessey, Gunter, Williams, Chester, Davies, Taylor, Allen, Ramsey (J Williams, 90), Ledley (King, 77), Bale, Robson-Kanu (Vokes, 74).

Belgium: Courtois, Meunier, Alderweireld, Denayer, J. Lukaku (Mertens, 75), Witsel, Nainggolan, Carrasco (Fellaini, 46), De Bruyne, Hazard, R. Lukaku (Batshuayi, 83).

Man of the Match: Aaron Ramsey

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