Wales fans roared into life inside the Stade Pierre-Mauroy as they watched their side win the biggest football game in the country’s history after beating Belgium 3-1 to earn a place in the semi-finals of Euro 2016.
Goals from Ashley Williams, Hal Robson-Kanu and Sam Vokes gave the Red Dragons a famous win in Lille, seeing them into the next round of the tournament where they are the only remaining British side following England, Ireland and Northern Ireland’s exit at the round of 16 stage.
Robson-Kanu, who hasn’t even got a club side after being let go by Reading this summer, along with Burnley’s Vokes put England’s pampered Premier League players to shame by firing their country of three million into the semi-finals of the tournament.
The famous victory was made all the sweeter by the goalscorers, who earn modest wages compared to the likes of England stars Raheem Sterling, on £180,000 a week, and Wayne Rooney, earning £260,000 a week.
Sam Vokes is said to make £7,000 a week at recently-promoted Burnley, while Robson-Kanu was making £10,000 before his Reading exit and Ashley Williams earns £45,000.
The difference in wage between the managers is even more stark, with Roy Hodgson among the best paid managers in the world before his departure, having been paid £68,000, while Chris Coleman earns just £4,200 a week in comparison.
The match didn’t started well for the travelling Welsh, after their side conceded an early goal following a long-range effort from Belgium’s Radja Nainggolan in the 13th minute.
However Swansea defender Ashley Williams headed home 17 minutes later from a corner to level the score before Robson-Kanu scored a wondergoal in the second half to make it 2-1.
The 27-year-old – who was earning a modest £10,000 a week before he was let go by Reading – did a ‘Cruyff turn’ in the Belgian box before firing low into the corner of the goal.
Vokes then scored a header late in the second half to make it 3-1, sending Welsh fans across the Channel and those in Lille into a frenzy.
The match was the biggest in Wales’s history and most important since the 1958 World Cup, where they made the quarter finals but were beaten by Brazil.
Wales will now play Portugal in the semi-finals of Euro 2016 after coming from behind to beat Belgium 3-1 in Lille, setting up a mouth-watering encounter between Real Madrid stars Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Welshman and International rugby union referee Nigel Owens ‘I know nothing about football. But bloody hell this is one hell of a game. Boys doing us proud again. Cmon Wales. £togetherstronger’
German World Cup winner Lothar Matthaus added: ‘Wow! Fantastic scenes in Lille. Did not see this coming! Wales for the final? £EURO2016’
Rugby World Cup winning coach Sir Clive Woodward tweeted: ‘Totally amazing – not enjoyed any sporting match as much as this for a long time – totally deserved, hats off to this Welsh team, brilliant.’
TV presenter George Clarke said: ‘Wales have a manager who actually knows his best team, knows where to play and inspired them….and doesn’t pick out of form favourites!’
TV and radio personality Danny Baker said: ‘Are you watching England? sing the Welsh. Lets hope so. They should be forced to watch what a real team looks like.
‘We English can only see Wales victory against our abject failure. Our squad should be forced to pull the Wales open top bus thru the streets.’
The Wales victory sparked incredibly scenes seconds after the final whistle as some players fell to their knees suffering from both exhaustion and seemingly disbelief at what they had just achieved.
The team had held out against Belgian pressure for the last twenty minutes of the match and then were able to grab a third goal from substitute Sam Vokes with just four minutes remaining.
The unity of the Wales squad was plain to see when skipper Ashley Williams ran to be mobbed by his teammates after scoring the equalising goal.
But at the end of the match the Wales players then went to hug not only their watching WAGS but also parents and other friends and family.
There then followed incredible scenes as many of the player’s children were passed over barriers so they could reach their fathers who hugged them and took them onto pitch where they sat and cuddled them.
Wales fans behind the goal where the team had celebrated at the final whistle then cheered constantly as the young children took it in turns to take penalties in front of the supporters.
The children – wearing the names of their fathers on their backs- simply ran amok with stewards helpless to intervene or stop them
Each ball that hit the back of the net was greeted with wild applause while the occasional miss saw ‘Oohs’ and ‘Aahs’ coming from the fans.
The Wales players then sang the national anthem with their fans.
Minutes after the final whistle the team and players took a swipe at England’s failure to beat Iceland in their last 16 match by copying the Icelandic ‘ seal’ chant with hands being clapped above heads.
More at dailymail.co.uk