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EURO2016: Brilliant Wales power past Belgium

Yet another upset at Euro2016 has seen Wales defeat Belgium 3-1 in Lille.

Two second-half goals to the Welsh, who came from a goal behind, helped seal their spot in the semi-finals.

Belgium scored first though Radja Nainggolan before Dragons captain Ashley Williams headed home before a brilliant piece of individual skill from Hal Robson-Kanu and a late header from Sam Vokes produced the greatest night in Welsh football.

It was a frantic first five minutes to the game with Belgium particularly lively as Wales defender Ben Davies was shown a yellow card early for a foul on Kevin De Bruyne.

Just a minute later Belgium issued the first of two consecutive shots on target as Wayne Hennessey did well to save an effort from Yannick Carrasco at the far post before the deflected ball was whipped towards goal and cleared off the line by Neil Taylor.

Wales issued a response on nine minutes with Robson-Kanu heading over the cross bar and Gareth Bale striking into side netting from a tough angle.

But it was Belgium who found the back of the net first with Roma midfielder Nainggolan utilising space to take aim from 30 yards and strike powerfully past Hennessey as the ball found the top left corner on 13 minutes.

Despite going behind so early, Wales rallied and were linking up well in attack only for a foul on De Bruyne to hand Wales another yellow card with 24 minutes played. Chris Gunter this time shown yellow for a bad foul.

Wales continued to plug away doggedly though as a low ball was played into the box by Aaron Ramsey with Taylor getting on the end of it to shoot low towards goal. Thibaut Courtois doing well to palm the ball the away from goal on 26 minutes.

Wales would eventually be awarded for their determination going forward as Williams headed them level with 30 minutes played. The Swansea City defender connecting powerfully from a Ramsey corner to nod the ball to the bottom right corner beyond the reach of Courtois.

Wales ending a free-flowing first-half on top as they edged Belgium out on possession.

Making a change at the break, Belgium emerged from half-time on the front foot with Romelu Lukaku flashing a header wide of the far post in the opening minutes of the second half.

Eden Hazard and De Bruyne then both showed some individual brilliance not long after to each shoot marginally wide of goal.

Despite a quiet start to the second half, Wales would roar to life as they went ahead on 55 minutes. Robson-Kanu controlled a ball from Ramsey in the box, turning past three Belgium defenders with a stunning 'Cruyff turn' before slotting the ball calmly past Courtois.

Trailing for the first time in four matches, Belgium charged forwards looking for an equaliser but chances were few and far between against a now defensively minded Wales side.

Half-time Belgium substitute Maroune Fellaini went within inches of a goal on 74 minute as his header from right in front somehow crept wide of the near post.

An increasingly frustrated Belgium side twice pleaded for a penalty either side of 80 minutes but were rightly denied.

Wales, who had spent much of the half defending, then pounced in attack to add a third goal on 85 minutes. Sam Vokes headed home Gunter's cross with both power and placement past Courtois to seal Wales spot in the semi-finals.

The result sees the world's number 2 ranked Belgians knocked out by the heart and passion of the Welsh who will now meet Portugal in the final four in Lyon on July 6.


Euro2016 - quarter-finals

Belgium: 1 (Radja Nainngolan 13')
Wales: 3 (Ashley Williams 30', Hal Robson-Kanu 55', Sam Vokes 86')
Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille - 45,936

Joshua Thomas
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Joshua Thomas

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