Wales’ fairytale run at EURO 2016 came to an end on Wednesday, falling to Portugal 2-0 in the semifinals.
It was the first match at the tournament in which Wales did not score, a disappointing end to a great month for the British nation.
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With a population of just over 3 million people, Wales became the smallest nation to every reach a EURO semifinal, doing so in their first-ever appearance at the tournament.
After the loss to Portugal, Gareth Bale spoke of the pride the team showed throughout their time in France before looking ahead to the future of Welsh football.
It’s very disappointing to be so close to the final but we have to be proud. This is a proud moment for us, we have achieved a lot. We had pride and passion.
The fans are the best in the world, by far. We wish we could have done it for them. We’d like to thank all the fans at home and all the fans who traveled out and behaved themselves.
We’ve had a taste of it now and we look forward to the future. We have confidence. We don’t want to turn up to one tournament, it’s about the bigger picture.
Not only did Wales get results in France this summer, but they also put in solid performances. They eliminated a Belgian team currently ranked No. 2 in the world, and were the better side for parts of the match against Portugal.
Bale and Co. will use this tournament as a stepping stone as they now shift their focus to qualification for the 2018 World Cup. Wales have only reached one World Cup in their history, reaching the quarterfinal in 1958.