Fabulous Wales stay grounded: no title dreams as Portugal next

Wales would have every reason to get carried away after their latest coup at Euro 2016 which rewrote their football history.

But they are not, despite all the brilliance in Friday's 3-1 quarter-final triumph over Belgium and the praise heaped on them.

Instead, from manager Chris Coleman and captain Ashley Williams to superstar Gareth Bale and out-of-contract wondergoal scorer Hal Robson-Kanu, Wales are now refocussing on their next opponent Portugal on Wednesday in Lyon.

"We'll do our homework and work on our game plan. It's not long before the next game. I'm sure there'll be a few celebrations but not too much," Bale said.

Coleman recalled that Wales have never played at a Euro before and that their best previous showing at a big event was a quarter-final berth 58 years ago at the 1958 World Cup.

"The whole experience is uncharted. All we can do is never forget what it has taken to be in this position. We can never forget our believes, our identity and our vision," he said.

"I know that my team is good enough to perform against anyone. But we have to approach the next game like the others and take care of our own performance."

The entire Wales camp has stressed a team effort from the outset, and this includes that influential Aaron Ramsey and defender Ben Davies will miss the next game owing to suspensions.

"Aaron has been one of the best players of the tournament ... They are big losses for us but they have done everything required of them. I am very proud of both players and we wouldn't be here without them," Coleman said.

The two bookings were the only damper on an unforgettable wet night in Lille where Captain Williams, Robson-Kanu - with a fantastic turning move past two defenders in the box - and substitute Sam Vokes reversed Belgium's early lead from Radja Nainggolan.

But not only the scoreline was a major surprise, even more that Wales outplayed the fancied Belgians around Eden Hazard and kevin de Bruyne for most of the match.

"We bossed the first half, they couldn't work out our rotations. Not many teams can do that against Belgium. When we scored the second we put them on the back foot. We took the game to Belgium for long periods," Coleman said.

The devoted fans celebrated and sang the famous lines "don't take me home, please don't take me home" deep into the night in Lille, Cardiff and elsewhere - while praise was heaped on the team.

"Amazing performance, amazing result. Passion and pride shown by Wales team and fans are incredible to watch. Bring on Portugal!" British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted.

Fromer England great Gary Lineker named Wales "sensationally good" and The Guardian spoke of "a night that will surely go down as their (Wales) finest on a football field."

True to the Welsh FA tournament slogan "Together.Stronger" the team has shown brilliantly in France that it is far more than Bale and Ramsey to who they were reduced just three weeks ago when the adventure started.

"What you saw was team spirit and togetherness. It really shows when you are down," Coleman said.

"I think you dream about nights like this but don't know if you are good enough or lucky enough. It is indescribable. Four years ago we were as far away from this as you could be."

They won the group ahead of England against who they narrowly lost while beating Slovakia and Russia, then edged Northern Ireland before Friday's historic win now pits them against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal.

That is the next and only target, the Wales camp insisted, not wasting a thought on the July 10 final at the Stade de France.

"We won't be thinking about winning the tournament but about getting our performance right in the next challenge which is Portugal," Coleman said.

Last update: Sat, 02/07/2016 - 11:11

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