Wales, in their first semi-final appearance at a major tournament, are to head home following a valiant 2-0 defeat against Portugal in Lyon. The Welsh players had been living a fairy-tale story for the past three weeks as they topped their group, ahead of England, and then defeated Northern Ireland and Belgium in their first ever European appearance, much more than anyone would have expected beforehand.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 6, 2016
In a night where the form of Bale and Ronaldo could tip the balance, the latter made the difference with a moment of brilliance with a header at 50 minutes followed by a moment of luck three minutes later as Nani capitalised on a Ronaldo misfire. Following those three fatal minutes Wales started to look more dangerous, with Bale and co, taking some shots from around the field but it was all too late.
Welsh fans will only be left to wonder what could have been if Ben Davies and Aaron Ramsey had been able to play, having been suspended from picking up two yellows earlier on in tournament.
Dyfan Rowlands, a graduating Southampton student shares his opinion of the match:
“I’ve always thought that Portugal were fortunate to get as far as they have, having finished third in their group and not having won a game in normal time. But tonight, they were the better team. We failed to threaten their goal at all, but I’m thrilled that we got to the semis. A real milestone for us”.
Regardless of tonight’s result, Wales have made history, matching England’s best performance at Euros. The fans who made the trip to France voiced their appreciation of the team’s performance as their hymns rolled around the stadium for the final minutes of the game. As the team head home, looking towards the next challenge, the main feeling will definitely be that of pride.