Wales shock Belgium to reach semifinals at Euro 2016
Wales 3 - 1 Belgium

Wales shock Belgium to reach semifinals at Euro 2016

02/07/2016

Wales rallied from an early deficit to defeat Belgium 3-1 and advance to the semifinals in their first European Championship.

Ashley Williams cancelled out Radja Nainggolan's opener, before Hal Robson-Kanu's spectacular goal put Wales ahead and Sam Vokes finished it off with five minutes to play.

Belgium were wondering how they missed a chance to open the scoring in the seventh minute after Romelu Lukaku found an open Yannick Carrasco with a cross, but Wales keeper Wayne Hennessey got across to save.

Thomas Meunier's follow-up attempt was then cleared off the line by Neil Taylor but fell right to Eden Hazard, whose shot was defelected over the bar by a sliding Ben Davies.

Wales pushed back as Robson-Kanu headed over the bar in the ninth minute, and moments later Gareth Bale put a strong shot into the side netting.

Belgium did take the lead before long, though, as Nainggolan was granted acres of space outside the box and unleashed a 25-yard rocket that flew past a diving Hennessey.

The 13th-minute goal seemed to spark Wales into action, and Chris Coleman's men had much more possession after falling behind.

Their first chance to equalise came in the 25th minute when Taylor redirected Aaron Ramsey's pass from the byline, but Thibaut Courtois did well to get back across his goal to save.

But the Belgium keeper could do nothing five minutes later when Williams broke free following a corner and headed in to score his second international goal, and first since 2010.

Wales pushed for more as Bale ran at Jordan Lukaku before shooting across goal, but his attempt was too close to Courtois.

Ramsey continued to prove a danger before the break, his shot from the top of the box deflecting inches past the post.

Williams then broke free again from a corner, but this time he could not keep his header on-target.

Belgium gained a spark when Marouane Fellaini came into the game at the start of the second half, replacing Carrasco.

Romelu Lukaku missed a chance to retake the lead when he headed wide, before Hazard put Wales on full alert by cutting into the box in the 50th minute, but the Chelsea man couldn't curl his shot inside the post.

A good defensive header from Williams was all that stopped Lukaku scoring from another header, and though a goal seemed to be coming for Belgium, it was Wales who took the lead in the 55th minute.

Ramsey corralled a long pass at the side of the box and chipped in a cross to Robson-Kanu, who befuddled three defenders with a magnificent turn before curling a shot past Courtois from 12 yards.

There was more pressure from Wales on the hour mark as Courtois spilled a corner but managed to get his body in the way of Williams' shot.

De Bruyne got in behind the Wales backline in the 71st minute, but his pass across for Lukaku was cut out well by James Chester.

Fellaini nearly found an equaliser with a header, then moments later was in good position to score from substitute Dries Mertens' cross but Davies got a touch to it first.

Davies was lucky not to see a second yellow card for bringing down Lukaku at the top of the box in the 79th minute, and Belgium soon had a penalty shout in the 83rd minute when Nainggolan fell under pressure, only for Slovenian referee Damir Skomina to wave play on.

But despite Belgium's pressure Wales expanded their lead in the 85th minute when Chris Gunter broke free down the sideline and lofted a cross into the box. Substitute Vokes beat Toby Alderweireld to the ball and flicked a header past Courtois to seal the victory.

Wales advance to face Portugal in the first semifinal on Wednesday in Lyon in a tantalising meeting between Real Madrid teammates Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.

But the Welshmen will be without both Ramsey and Davies, who will be suspended after bookings on Friday.


Related news

Controversy and class help France beat Croatia in remarkable World Cup final

Controversy and class help France beat Croatia in remarkable World Cup final

France won their second World Cup on Sunday with a 4-2 win over Croatia, with Didier Deschamps becoming the third person to win the trophy as a player and a manager.

Belgium claim third place in World Cup with victory over England

Belgium claim third place in World Cup with victory over England

Thomas Meunier scored in the opening minutes and Eden Hazard added a goal late as Belgium defeated England 2-0 in the World Cup's third-place game in St. Petersburg.

Croatia beat England in extra time to reach World Cup final after Mandzukic goal

Croatia beat England in extra time to reach World Cup final after Mandzukic goal

Croatia will take on France in the World Cup final -- their first ever appearance in one -- after beating England 2-1 in extra time in Moscow thanks to a Mario Mandzukic goal.

France reach World Cup final as Samuel Umtiti goal beats Belgium

France reach World Cup final as Samuel Umtiti goal beats Belgium

France will play in the World Cup final for the first time since 2006 after beating Belgium 1-0 thanks to a goal from Samuel Umtiti in St Petersburg on Tuesday evening.

Croatia oust Russia in another shootout to reach World Cup semifinals

Croatia oust Russia in another shootout to reach World Cup semifinals

Croatia won a second consecutive penalty shootout 4-3 to advance to the World Cup semifinals, ending the tournament for hosts Russia, who had equalised late in extra time.

England reach World Cup semifinal thanks to Harry Maguire and Dele Alli

England reach World Cup semifinal thanks to Harry Maguire and Dele Alli

England have reached their first World Cup semifinal since 1990 after goals from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli secured a 2-0 victory over Sweden in Samara.

De Bruyne fires Belgium past Brazil and into semi-finals

De Bruyne fires Belgium past Brazil and into semi-finals

Belgium blew away Brazil to claim a place in the semi-finals of the World Cup, with an own goal from Fernandinho and a strike from Kevin De Bruyne giving them a 2-1 win.

France beat Uruguay to reach World Cup semis as Varane, Griezmann strike

France beat Uruguay to reach World Cup semis as Varane, Griezmann strike

France reached the World Cup semifinals after a relatively straightforward win over Uruguay courtesy of goals from Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann.

England eliminate Colombia on penalties, reach first quarterfinal since 2006

England eliminate Colombia on penalties, reach first quarterfinal since 2006

England advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals on penalties after a 1-1 draw with Colombia on a dramatic evening in Moscow on Tuesday.

RELATED NEWS

Controversy and class help France beat Croatia in remarkable World Cup final
France 4 - 2 Croatia

Controversy and class help France beat Croatia in remarkable World Cup final

France won their second World Cup on Sunday with a 4-2 win over Croatia, with Didier Deschamps becoming the third person to win the trophy as a player and a manager.

Belgium claim third place in World Cup with victory over England
Belgium 2 - 0 England

Belgium claim third place in World Cup with victory over England

Thomas Meunier scored in the opening minutes and Eden Hazard added a goal late as Belgium defeated England 2-0 in the World Cup's third-place game in St. Petersburg.

Croatia beat England in extra time to reach World Cup final after Mandzukic goal
Croatia 2 - 1 (AET) England

Croatia beat England in extra time to reach World Cup final after Mandzukic goal

Croatia will take on France in the World Cup final -- their first ever appearance in one -- after beating England 2-1 in extra time in Moscow thanks to a Mario Mandzukic goal.

France reach World Cup final as Samuel Umtiti goal beats Belgium
France 1 - 0 Belgium

France reach World Cup final as Samuel Umtiti goal beats Belgium

France will play in the World Cup final for the first time since 2006 after beating Belgium 1-0 thanks to a goal from Samuel Umtiti in St Petersburg on Tuesday evening.

Croatia oust Russia in another shootout to reach World Cup semifinals
Russia 2 - 2 (3-4 a.p.) Croatia

Croatia oust Russia in another shootout to reach World Cup semifinals

Croatia won a second consecutive penalty shootout 4-3 to advance to the World Cup semifinals, ending the tournament for hosts Russia, who had equalised late in extra time.

England reach World Cup semifinal thanks to Harry Maguire and Dele Alli
Sweeden 0 - 2 England

England reach World Cup semifinal thanks to Harry Maguire and Dele Alli

England have reached their first World Cup semifinal since 1990 after goals from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli secured a 2-0 victory over Sweden in Samara.

De Bruyne fires Belgium past Brazil and into semi-finals
Brazil 1 - 2 Belgium

De Bruyne fires Belgium past Brazil and into semi-finals

Belgium blew away Brazil to claim a place in the semi-finals of the World Cup, with an own goal from Fernandinho and a strike from Kevin De Bruyne giving them a 2-1 win.

France beat Uruguay to reach World Cup semis as Varane, Griezmann strike
Uruguay 0 - 2 France

France beat Uruguay to reach World Cup semis as Varane, Griezmann strike

France reached the World Cup semifinals after a relatively straightforward win over Uruguay courtesy of goals from Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann.

England eliminate Colombia on penalties, reach first quarterfinal since 2006
Colombia 1 - 1 (3-4 a.p.) England

England eliminate Colombia on penalties, reach first quarterfinal since 2006

England advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals on penalties after a 1-1 draw with Colombia on a dramatic evening in Moscow on Tuesday.