Portugal better watch out, because they will be running into a Wales team in prime form in the semifinals of Euro 2016. Up against one of the most talented teams in the world on Friday, Wales put on one of their greatest ever shows in one of their most important footballing nights to not just beat Belgium, but outclass them in some style in the quarterfinal in Lille.
After going down to an early goal from Radja Nainggolan, Wales showed maturity, class and calm befitting a champion side, with skipper Ashley Williams, first, scoring the equaliser, before Hal Robson-Kanu, courtesy one of the greatest ever goals in Wales history, and Sam Vokes struck in the second half to give their country a brilliant, thoroughly deserved 3-1 victory and a place in the semifinals of a major tournament for the first time in their history.
The game was entertaining from the beginning, with Belgium showing quite a bit of cutting edge, powering forward by using their pace and quality. Wales took a while to settle into the game, but by then Belgium were ahead, and what a goal it was too to set this quarterfinal goalscoring rolling.
Nainggolan was given space outside the box, around 30 yards out, and he gleefully accepted the invitation, absolutely thumping a shot which went so quickly past Wayne Hennessey that the goalkeeper could not keep the ball out, despite getting fingertips to it.
With Wales just struggling a little to get to grips with the game, there was a good chance that Nainggolan would grab a second winner if Euro 2016, having scored another piledriver to send Sweden out of the tournament, but, Belgium, after scoring the opening goal, sat back a little, looking to go in the counter-attack, rather than force the pace and look for that second goal.
That allowed Wales to settle, with the Dragons seeing plenty of the ball, and as a result, the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, who was just plain brilliant again, even if he looked forlorn in the end after a late yellow card meant he will miss the semifinal against Portugal, came into the game more. It also allowed the two Joes – Allen and Ledley – to take control of midfield, and it was only a matter of time, before Wales tested Thibaut Courtois, especially with the Belgium defence looking a little rocky -- understandable, considering Jason Denayer and Jordan Lukaku were starting their first games of Euro 2016.
The closest they came to equalising before finding the goal was when Bale played in Ramsey on the right channel, with the Arsenal man picking Neil Taylor out perfectly inside the box. The left-back's strike, though, was close to Courtois, who could the save moving to his right.
Minutes after that chance, however, Wales were on level terms, with Ramsey whipping a corner into a dangerous area and Williams towering high to power the header home.
Both teams had a couple of half chances to take the lead before halftime, with Romelu Lukaku denied a clean header by a fingertip from Hennessey and Bale, after a barnstorming run, kept out by Courtois with a comfortable save to his right.
Belgium started the second half stronger, holding much more of the possession, and creating a few chances too. Romelu Lukaku should have made it 2-1, after Thomas Meunier laid the ball onto his head to perfection, but the Everton man directed his header wide from five yards out.
Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard, who could not dominate the game as much as they would have liked, both shot off target, with Wales, soon after, finding the winner.
Bale played a long ball towards Ramsey on the right, who then found Robson-Kanu, preferred to Vokes up front, in the centre of the penalty area. Robson-Kanu had plenty to do to find a shot on goal, but boy did he do that well, with the former Arsenal youngster showing Dennis Bergkamp-esque magic, with a flick of his left foot, to take three defenders out of the picture, before slotting home past Courtois with his left boot.
Belgium looked a little shellshocked at conceding the goal, but once that feeling of "Oh man what just happened" died down, they started to threaten the Wales goal, with Marouane Fellaini, on as a halftime substitute for Yannick Carrasco, coming close with a header.
The match would end, though, on 85 minutes as Vokes thumped a header past Courtois off a cross from Chris Gunter to send the Wales players and their fans into barely-believable delirium.