Date: 1st July 2016 at 9:28pm
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Wales produced perhaps the greatest performance in their footballing history as they came from a goal down to beat Belgium 3-1 in Lille, setting up a Euro 2016 semi-final against Portugal.

Despite falling behind to Radja Nainggolan’s fantastic strike, goals from Ashley Williams, Hal Robson-Kanu and Sam Vokes took Chris Coleman’s side to the last four in their first major tournament since 1958.

Wales made one change to the team that beat Northern Ireland 1-0 in the knockout stages, with Robson-Kanu replacing Vokes in the starting line-up.

Meanwhile, Belgium made three changes, with Jordan Lukaku coming in for the injured Jan Vertonghen, Jason Denayer replacing the suspended Thomas Vermaelen, and Yannick Carrasco coming in for Dries Mertens.

Marc Wilmots’ men came out on the front foot and it took some astonishing defending to keep them from netting an opener just seven minutes in.

Welsh players threw themselves in front of three efforts at goal as Wayne Hennessey made a save and then Neil Taylor and James Chester blocked shots to somehow deny the Belgians scoring.

However, the pressure told just five minutes later as Eden Hazard laid the ball off to Nainggolan 25 yards from goal, and the Roma man struck a thunderbolt of a strike into the roof of the net.

The Dragons responded well and almost equalised midway through the half as Aaron Ramsey cut the ball across goal and Taylor arrived, but was brilliantly denied a second goal of the tournament by a sprawling Thibaut Courtois.

01 July 2016 - UEFA Euro 2016 - Wales v Belgium : Hal Robson-Kanu celebrates the second goal for Wales. Photo: Mark Leech

Hal Robson-Kanu gaves Wales the lead with a stunning solo goal. Photo: Mark Leech/Offside.

On the half-hour mark, they did find their equaliser and a deserved one too, as Ramsey’s corner was powerfully headed in by an unmarked Ashley Williams.

The Belgians came out hungry in the second half and Romelu Lukaku missed a golden chance to put them ahead with a free header before Hazard shot narrowly wide of the far post.

But it was Wales who stunned the stadium, and the rest of Europe, as they took a 2-1 lead ten minutes into the second half.

Hal Robson-Kanu controlled Ramsey’s pass and produced an amazing Cruyff turn to deceive three Belgian defenders, before coolly slotting the ball past Courtois for one of the goals of the tournament – and in Wales’ history.

Belgium threw everything at the Welsh as substitute Marouane Fellaini headed wide from six yards when it seemed easier to score, before Nainggolan went down inside the area under a challenge from Williams, but his penalty claim was waved away.

Then, out of nothing, Wales got the ball forward on the right, and Chris Gunter crossed towards Sam Vokes, who got ahead of Toby Alderweireld to glance a brilliant header into the far corner and seal the greatest performance, and day, in Welsh football history.

Wales book a place in their first ever semi-final at a major tournament where they face Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal in Lyon on July 6 for a place in the Euro 2016 final.

Man of the Match: Hal Robson-Kanu (Wales)

For that goal alone, the free agent spurred his side on to their greatest ever football moment. That goal will go down in history. It will be played across Wales for years to come, but as well as the goal, he also led the line extremely well throughout the game, causing the Belgian defence problems with his pace and hold-up play.

What’s Next?

The Welsh dream goes onto Lyon where they will face Portugal on Wednesday night. A Bale vs Ronaldo showdown awaits for a place in the Euro 2016 final. It doesn’t get much better than that.

 
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