DID YOU KNOW?
Wales’ first football match at the Millennium Stadium was against Finland on March 29, 2000. The Finns won 2-1, with Jari Litmanen becoming the first player to score. Ryan Giggs scored for Wales.
LYON — Gareth Bale says Wales are “hungry” to prove themselves at the next World Cup after their “incredible” Euro 2016 campaign.
Bale and the rest of Chris Coleman’s squad will fly back to Cardiff today for an open top-bus parade after reaching the semifinals in France.
Their memorable campaign, at the nation’s first major finals since 1958, was ended in the last four with a 2-0 loss in Lyon to Portugal.
But star man Bale, who scored in all their group games as Wales finished top of Group B, insists Chris Coleman’s squad have done the nation proud.
His optimistic ahead of the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup, which start on Sept 5 against Moldova at home.
Bale, 26, said: “To be so close to the final and miss out is disappointing but we have to be proud of what we’ve achieved.
“It hurts now because it’s fresh but we’ve been on an amazing journey.
“The whole nation has enjoyed the journey as much as us and it’s been amazing, incredible.
“Fans, staff, everyone – it’s been one of those moments in your life we’ll never forget and very special to all of us.
“Now our hunger is there more than ever to get back.
“It hurts now but we’ve enjoyed it and we feel there’s still a lot more to come.
“There’s more improvements from us and come the World Cup qualifiers — which are not too far away — we’ll get back to working hard and doing what do best.
“We always wanted to test ourselves against the best and I think we’ve done everybody proud — including ourselves. We can hold our heads high and give it a right go again.”
Bale was overshadowed by his Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo in the last four as the Portuguese ace scored a fine header and assisted Nani in the 2-0 victory.
But Bale added: “We can be a better side from it.
“We’ve grown in confidence, we’ve grown in stature and I think we’ll be more respected.
“The hunger is there, the spirit is there and we’ll take all the positives from this and go into the next campaign trying to do it again.
“We said all along we didn’t just want to qualify for this tournament — we want to qualify every time.” — Daily Mirror