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Euro 2016: Ronaldo ends Wales' dream with giant leap into final

By Mark Ogden in Lyon

Published 07/07/2016

High and mighty: Ronaldo climbs above the Welsh defence to head Portugal towards a Euro final place on Sunday
High and mighty: Ronaldo climbs above the Welsh defence to head Portugal towards a Euro final place on Sunday

Gareth Bale insisted Wales must use their Euro 2016 success as a platform for World Cup qualification after seeing Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo inspire Portugal to semi-final glory in Lyon.

Playing in their first major tournament since the 1958 World Cup, Wales saw their hopes of a remarkable run to the final ended by Ronaldo, who scored one with a brilliant leaping header and made the other for Nani as Portugal secured a 2-0 victory.

France supporters kiss prior to the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016.
/ AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND LANGLOISBERTRAND LANGLOIS/AFP/Getty Images
France supporters kiss prior to the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND LANGLOISBERTRAND LANGLOIS/AFP/Getty Images
A France supporter arrives for the start of the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JULY 07: Ludivine Sagna, wife of Bacary Sagna of France is seen in the stand is seen prior to the UEFA EURO semi final match between Germany and France at Stade Velodrome on July 7, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
A Germany's supporter waves her country's national flag prior to the start of the Euro 2016 semifinal soccer match between Germany and France, at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille, France, Thursday, July 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
A France fan waits for the start of the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZPATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world - A France supporter waits for the start of the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016.
A France supporter cheers prior to the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Toulouse Fan Zone, on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Rémy GABALDAREMY GABALDA/AFP/Getty Images
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world - Ludivine Payet (1st L), wife of Dimitri Payet of France kisses her child prior to the match between Germany and France at Stade Velodrome on July 7, 2016 in Marseille, France.
France supporters kiss as they wait for the start of the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
A Poland supporter looks on prior to the Euro 2016 quarter-final football match between Poland and Portugal at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on June 30, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
A France supporter waits for the start of the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
A Portugal fan waits for the start of the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Portugal and Wales at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium in Décines-Charpieu, near Lyon, on July 6, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE DESMAZESPHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images
A Wales supporter waits for the start of the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Portugal and Wales at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium in Décines-Charpies, near Lyon, on July 6, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINAMIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images
A Portugal supporter before the UEFA Euro 2016, semi-final match at the Stade de Lyon, Lyon. PA
Portugal supporters before the UEFA Euro 2016, semi-final match at the Stade de Lyon, Lyon. PA
LILLE, FRANCE - JULY 01: A Belgium supporter enjoys the atmosphere prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 quarter final match between Wales and Belgium at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on July 1, 2016 in Lille, France. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Belgium supporters wait for the start of the Euro 2016 quarter-final football match between Wales and Belgium at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium in Villeneuve-d'Ascq near Lille, on July 1, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINAMIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images
A Poland supporter gestures prior to the Euro 2016 quarter-final football match between Poland and Portugal at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on June 30, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND LANGLOISBERTRAND LANGLOIS/AFP/Getty Images
A Poland supporter holds a scarf prior to the Euro 2016 quarterfinal soccer match between Poland and Portugal, at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille, France, Thursday, June 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
A Belgium supporter waits for the start of the Euro 2016 quarter-final football match between Wales and Belgium at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium in Villeneuve-d'Ascq near Lille, on July 1, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINAMIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 30: A Portugal supporter is seen prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 quarter final match between Poland and Portugal at Stade Velodrome on June 30, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
Wales fans ahead of watching the Wales v Belgium game at Coopers Field fanzone, Cardiff. PA
A Poland supporter looks on prior to the Euro 2016 quarter-final football match between Poland and Portugal at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on June 30, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULATANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images
Portugal's fans pose with a flag before the Euro 2016 quarterfinal soccer match between Poland and Portugal, at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille, France, Thursday, June 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
A Polish supporter cheers before the Euro 2016 quarter-final football match between Poland and Portugal at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on June 30, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Valery HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
A Poland supporter holds a scarf prior to the Euro 2016 quarterfinal soccer match between Poland and Portugal, at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille, France, Thursday, June 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
A supporter of Poland looks on ahead of the Euro 2016 championship match between Poland and Portugal, in Marseille, southern France, on June 30, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
Portugal supporters look on prior to the Euro 2016 quarter-final football match between Poland and Portugal at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on June 30, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND LANGLOISBERTRAND LANGLOIS/AFP/Getty Images
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 30: A Poland fan shows her support prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 quarter final match between Poland and Portugal at Stade Velodrome on June 30, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Two Portugal supporters kiss a Poland supporter ahead of the Euro 2016 championship match between Poland and Portugal, in Marseille, southern France, on June 30, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 30: A Portugal supporter is seen prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 quarter final match between Poland and Portugal at Stade Velodrome on June 30, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
A Portugal national football team supporter waits at the Fanzone on Aliados Avenue Avenue in Porto on June 30, 2016, before the Euro 2016 football match between Portugal and Poland held at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille, France. / AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL RIOPAMIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images
A Portugal national football team supporter waits at the Fanzone on Aliados Avenue Avenue in Porto on June 30, 2016, before the Euro 2016 football match between Portugal and Poland held at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille, France. / AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL RIOPAMIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images
Portugal supporters react ahead of the Euro 2016 championship match between Poland and Portugal, in Marseille, southern France, on June 30, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENETJEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENET/AFP/Getty Images
Iceland fans pose for photographs on their way to the stadium prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between England and Iceland at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 27, 2016 in Nice, France. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
A Portuguese supporter cheers before the Euro 2016 quarter-final football match between Poland and Portugal at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on June 30, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCISCO LEONGFRANCISCO LEONG/AFP/Getty Images
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 30: A Poland supporter enjoys the atmosphere prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 quarter final match between Poland and Portugal at Stade Velodrome on June 30, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
NICE, FRANCE - JUNE 27: Iceland fans show their support prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between England and Iceland at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 27, 2016 in Nice, France. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
NICE, FRANCE - JUNE 27: Iceland fans show their support prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between England and Iceland at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 27, 2016 in Nice, France. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world - Argentina fans pose prior to a 2016 Copa America Centenario Semifinal match between Argentina and the United States at NRG Stadium on June 21, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Italy fans enjoy the atmosphere prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group E match between Italy and Republic of Ireland at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on June 22, 2016 in Lille, France. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Ireland supporters show their support prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group E match between Italy and Republic of Ireland at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on June 22, 2016 in Lille, France. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
NICE, FRANCE - JUNE 22: A Sweden fan enjoys the build up to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group E match between Sweden and Belgium at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 22, 2016 in Nice, France. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
LILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 22: Italy fans enjoy the atmosphere prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group E match between Italy and Republic of Ireland at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on June 22, 2016 in Lille, France. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Austria fans wait for the start of the Euro 2016 group F football match between Iceland and Austria at the Stade de France stadium in Saint-Denis, near Paris on June 22, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / TOBIAS SCHWARZTOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images
Albania fans react as they sit in the fan zone of Tirana during the Euro 2016 match between Albania and Romania on July 19 2016. / AFP PHOTO / STRINGERSTRINGER/AFP/Getty Images
Switzerland fans wait for the start of the Euro 2016 group A football match between Switzerland and France at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium in Lille on June 19, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCOIS LO PRESTIFRANCOIS LO PRESTI/AFP/Getty Images
A supporter smiles prior to the Euro 2016 group A football match between Switzerland and France at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium in Lille on June 19, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
Albania supporters are pictured ahead the Euro 2016 group A football match between Romania and Albania at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium in Lyon on June 19, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE DESMAZESPHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 18: Austria fans enjoy the atmosphere prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group F match between Portugal and Austria at Parc des Princes on June 18, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
A Portugal supporter cheers prior to the Euro 2016 group F football match between Portugal and Austria at the Parc des Princes in Paris on June 18, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BUREAUMARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images
Poland supporters kiss on the stands while waiting for the start of the Euro 2016 Group C soccer match between Germany and Poland at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, France, Thursday, June 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Republic of Ireland fans watch the Euro 2016 match between Republic of Ireland and Belgium at The Living Room bar in Dublin City Centre. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 18, 2016. See PA story SPORT Euro 2016 Dublin. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Republic of Ireland fans watch the Euro 2016 match between Republic of Ireland and Belgium at The Living Room bar in Dublin City Centre.
A Turkish fan cheers for her national team prior the Euro 2016 Group D soccer match between Spain and Turkey at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice, France, Friday, June 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
An Albania supporter is pictured ahead the Euro 2016 group A football match between Romania and Albania at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium in Lyon on June 19, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE DESMAZESPHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images
Russian supporters wait for the start of the Euro 2016 Group B soccer match between Russia and Slovakia at the Pierre Mauroy stadium in Villeneuve dAscq, near Lille, France, Wednesday, June 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A Russian supporter waits for the start of the Euro 2016 Group B soccer match between Russia and Slovakia at the Pierre Mauroy stadium in Villeneuve dAscq, near Lille, France, Wednesday, June 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A Swiss fan waits for the start of the Euro 2016 Group A soccer match between Romania and Switzerland at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, France, Wednesday, June 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
A Sweden fan in the stands during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group E match at the Stade de France, Paris. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday June 13, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Republic. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. Book and magazine sales permitted providing not solely devoted to any one team/player/match. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
An Austria team's fan smiles prior to the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Austria at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, France, Saturday, June 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
A Belgium fan in the stands during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group E match at the Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 18, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Republic. Photo credit should read: Chris Radburn/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. Book and magazine sales permitted providing not solely devoted to any one team/player/match. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
A Poland team's supporter waits for the start of the Euro 2016 Group C soccer match between Germany and Poland at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, France, Thursday, June 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Ukraine fans wear fancy dress and face pain in support of their team during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Lyon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday June 16, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. Book and magazine sales permitted providing not solely devoted to any one team/player/match. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world. A Polish supporter blows a kiss prior to the Euro 2016 Group C soccer match between Germany and Poland at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, France, Thursday, June 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Italy supporters dressed as Roman soldiers cheer on the stands prior to the Euro 2016 Group E soccer match between Italy and Sweden at the Stadium municipal in Toulouse, France, Friday, June 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world. Swedish supporters, their faces painted in the colors of the national flag, cheer as they wait for the start of the Euro 2016 Group E soccer match between Italy and Sweden at the Stadium municipal in Toulouse, France, Friday, June 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
A Polish supporter holds a scarf as she waits for the start of the Euro 2016 Group C soccer match between Germany and Poland at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, France, Thursday, June 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
A supporter of Poland smiles on the stands before the Euro 2016 Group C soccer match between Germany and Poland at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, France, Thursday, June 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Croatia team's fans cheer prior to the Euro 2016 Group D soccer match between the Czech Republic and Croatia at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Friday, June 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
A Croatia's team fan holds his head during the Euro 2016 Group D soccer match between the Czech Republic and Croatia at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Friday, June 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world. Poland's fans pose within the Euro 2016 group C football match between Poland and Northern Ireland on June 12, 2016 in the fan zone at the bottom of the Eiffel tower in Paris, during the UEFA Euro 2016 football championship.
A Russia supporter poses for photographs prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group B match between England and Russia at Stade Velodrome on June 11, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
A Portugal fan shouts as he wait for the start of the Euro 2016 group F football match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne on June 14, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCISCO LEONGFRANCISCO LEONG/AFP/Getty Images
NICE, FRANCE - JUNE 12: A fan of Poland is seen prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group C match between Poland and Northern Ireland at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 12, 2016 in Nice, France. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world. A football fan waits for the start of the Copa America Centenario football tournament match between the United States and Paraguay in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, on June 11, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Don EMMERTDON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world. - Supporters of Mexico wait for the start of the Copa America Centenario football tournament match against Venezuela in Houston, Texas, United States, on June 13, 2016.
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world. Iceland fans show their support prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group F match between Portugal and Iceland at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on June 14, 2016 in Saint-Etienne, France. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world. An Italy supporter cheers before the Euro 2016 group E football match between Belgium and Italy at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium in Lyon on June 13, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTOVINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images
SAINT-ETIENNE, FRANCE - JUNE 14: A Portugal supporter is seen prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group F match between Portugal and Iceland at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on June 14, 2016 in Saint-Etienne, France. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Austria's supporters are pictured ahead of the Euro 2016 group F football match between Hungary and Austria at the Matmut Atlantique stadium in Bordeaux on June 14, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / NICOLAS TUCATNICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/Getty Images
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world. A young Iceland fan shows his support prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group F match between Portugal and Iceland at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on June 14, 2016 in Saint-Etienne, France. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Belgium fans cheer before the start of the Euro 2016 group E football match between Belgium and Italy at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium in Lyon on June 13, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE DESMAZESPHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images
looses her sunglasses as fans wait to enter the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne on June 14, 2016 prior to the match between Portugal and Iceland. / AFP PHOTO / ODD ANDERSENODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: A man takes selfie in front of Zinedine Zidane graffiti ahead of the UEFA Euro 2016 near Hotel de Ville on June 9, 2016 in Paris, France. The opening match of the tournament is on June 10. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A Sweden fan cheers his team before the Euro 2016 group E football match between Ireland and Sweden at the Stade de France stadium in Saint-Denis, near Paris, on June 13, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
A woman takes selfie in front of Cristiano Ronaldo graffiti ahead of the UEFA Euro 2016 near Hotel de Ville on June 9, 2016 in Paris, France. The opening match of the tournament is on June 10. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
A Hungary fan show their support prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group F match between Austria and Hungary at Stade Matmut Atlantique on June 14, 2016 in Bordeaux, France. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
LILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 12: An Ukraine fan is seen prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group C match between Germany and Ukraine at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on June 12, 2016 in Lille, France. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
NICE, FRANCE - JUNE 12: A Poland fan looks on as he waits for Poland to play Northern Ireland in the group stage of the UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 12, 2016 in Nice, France. Football fans from around Europe have descended on France for the UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
LILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 12: An Ukraine fan is seen prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group C match between Germany and Ukraine at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on June 12, 2016 in Lille, France. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
A Turkey supporter wearing glasses in the colours of the Turkish flag waits for the start of the Euro 2016 group D football match between Turkey and Croatia at Parc des Princes in Paris on June 12, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILICBULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images
LILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 12: An Ukraine fan enjoys the atmosphere prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group C match between Germany and Ukraine at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on June 12, 2016 in Lille, France. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
A German supporter is pictured ahead of the Euro 2016 group C football match between Germany and Ukraine at the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Villeneuve-d'Ascq near Lille on June 12, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZPATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images
NICE, FRANCE - JUNE 12: Poland fans enjoy the atmosphere outside the stadium prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group C match between Poland and Northern Ireland at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 12, 2016 in Nice, France. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 11: England fans wear red and white makeup flags on their faces ahead of the game against Russia later today on June 11, 2016 in Marseille, France. Football fans from around Europe have descended on France for the UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
LILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 12: An Ukraine fan enjoys the atmosphere prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group C match between Germany and Ukraine at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on June 12, 2016 in Lille, France. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
LYON, FRANCE - JUNE 13: A Belgium fan enjoy the atmosphere prior to kickoff during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group E match between Belgium and Italy at Stade des Lumieres on June 13, 2016 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
A Sweden supporter enjoys the atmosphere prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group E match between Republic of Ireland and Sweden at Stade de France on June 13, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 13: A Sweden supporter enjoys the atmosphere prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group E match between Republic of Ireland and Sweden at Stade de France on June 13, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
LILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 12: Germany fans enjoy the atmosphere prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group C match between Germany and Ukraine at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on June 12, 2016 in Lille, France. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 11: A Russia supporter poses for photographs prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group B match between England and Russia at Stade Velodrome on June 11, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
LILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 12: An Ukraine fan enjoys the atmosphere prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group C match between Germany and Ukraine at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on June 12, 2016 in Lille, France. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
LILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 12: An Ukraine fan enjoys the atmosphere prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group C match between Germany and Ukraine at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on June 12, 2016 in Lille, France. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
NICE, FRANCE - JUNE 12: Poland fans enjoy the atmosphere outside the stadium prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group C match between Poland and Northern Ireland at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 12, 2016 in Nice, France. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
Young Spain supporters cheer for their team ahead the Euro 2016 group D football match between Spain and Czech Republic at the Stadium Municipal in Toulouse on June 13, 2016.
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world - As Euro 2016 fever spreads across the continent we cast an eye over the world of colour, passion and pride, the joy and the heartbreak that the beautiful game stirs across the globe
A young Slovakia fan receives a kiss from her mother in the stands before the UEFA Euro 2016, Group B match at the Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux.
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world. Football fans wait for the start of the Copa America Centenario football tournament match between the United States and Paraguay in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, on June 11, 2016.
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world - Turkey fans enjoy the atmosphere prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group D match between Turkey and Croatia at Parc des Princes on June 12, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world - As Euro 2016 fever spreads across the continent we cast an eye over the world of colour, passion and pride, the joy and the heartbreak that the beautiful game stirs across the globe
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world - A Ukraine fan enjoys the atmosphere prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group C match between Germany and Ukraine at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on June 12, 2016 in Lille, France. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world - A German supporter smiles while following the match during a public viewing for the first Euro 2016 match of the German national football team against Ukraine in front of the Brandenburger Tor in Berlin, Germany, on June 12, 2016.
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world - As Euro 2016 fever spreads across the continent we cast an eye over the world of colour, passion and pride, the joy and the heartbreak that the beautiful game stirs across the globe
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world - A Turkey supporter with a painted face shouts as fans wait for the start of the Euro 2016 group D football match between Turkey and Croatia at Parc des Princes in Paris on June 12, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILICBULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images
An Albania supporter enjoys the atmosphere prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group A match between Albania and Switzerland at Stade Bollaert-Delelis on June 11, 2016 in Lens, France. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
An Albania supporter cheers for his team before the Euro 2016 group A football match between Albania and Switzerland at the Bollaert-Delelis Stadium in Lens on June 11, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUENPHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images
France's defender Bacary Sagna's wife Ludivine Sagna is pictured prior to the Euro 2016 group A football match between France and Romania at Stade de France, in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on June 10, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
A France supporter reacts during the Euro 2016 group A football match between France and Romania at the fan zone near the Eiffel tower in Paris on June 10, 2016. AFP PHOTO / ALAIN JOCARDALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images
LENS, FRANCE - JUNE 11: An Albania enjoys the atmosphere prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group A match between Albania and Switzerland at Stade Bollaert-Delelis on June 11, 2016 in Lens, France. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
An Albania supporter cheers for her team before the Euro 2016 group A football match between Albania and Switzerland at the Bollaert-Delelis Stadium in Lens on June 11, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUENPHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images
France supporters watch the Euro 2016 football championship at the Marseille's fan zone, southern France, on June 10, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND LANGLOISBERTRAND LANGLOIS/AFP/Getty Images
A French supporter is seen prior to the UEFA Euro 2016 Group A match between France and Romania at Stade de France on June 10, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
A man and a woman supporting France kiss prior to the Euro 2016 group A football match between France and Romania at Stade de France, in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on June 10, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
A France supporter is pictures ahead of the Euro 2016 group A football match between France and Romania at Stade de France, in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on June 10, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE LOPEZPHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images
A French supporter smiles with a mask representing Antoine Griezmann inside the fanzone ahead of the first football matches of the Euro 2016 football tournament on June 10, 2016 in Paris. AFP PHOTO / ALAIN JOCARDALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 10: A french supporter enjoys the atmosphere prior to the stadium prior to kickoff during the UEFA Euro 2016 Group A match between France and Romania at Stade de France on June 10, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 10: French supporters enjoy the atmosphere prior to the UEFA Euro 2016 Group A match between France and Romania at Stade de France on June 10, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 10: A French supporter is seen prior to the UEFA Euro 2016 Group A match between France and Romania at Stade de France on June 10, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world. A French supporter is seen prior to the UEFA Euro 2016 Group A match between France and Romania at Stade de France on June 10, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
France supporters smile prior to the Euro 2016 group A football match between France and Romania at Stade de France, in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on June 10, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world. France supporters smile prior to the Euro 2016 group A football match between France and Romania at Stade de France, in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on June 10, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 10: A french supporter enjoys the atmosphere prior to the stadium prior to kickoff during the UEFA Euro 2016 Group A match between France and Romania at Stade de France on June 10, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
A Portugal supporter wears a Ronaldo mask before the group G World Cup soccer match between Portugal and Ghana at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, June 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Paulo Duarte)
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world - As Euro 2016 fever spreads across the continent we cast an eye over the world of colour, passion and pride, the joy and the heartbreak that the beautiful game stirs across the globe
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world - As Euro 2016 fever spreads across the continent we cast an eye over the world of colour, passion and pride, the joy and the heartbreak that the beautiful game stirs across the globe
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world - As Euro 2016 fever spreads across the continent we cast an eye over the world of colour, passion and pride, the joy and the heartbreak that the beautiful game stirs across the globe
As Euro 2016 fever spreads across the continent we cast an eye over the world of colour, passion and pride, the joy and the heartbreak that the beautiful game stirs across the globe
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world - A Costa Rica supporter cheers before the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Costa Rica and Greece at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil, Sunday, June 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world. Fans pictures from the 2014 Brazil World Cup.
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world. Fans pictures from the 2014 Brazil World Cup.
Sunday Life News Fans pictures from the 2014 brazil World Cup.
Sunday Life News Fans pictures from the 2014 brazil World Cup.
An Algerian supporter waits for the start of the group H World Cup soccer match between Algeria and Russia at the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, Brazil, Thursday, June 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
Sunday Life News Fans pictures from the 2014 brazil World Cup.
Sunday Life News Fans pictures from the 2014 brazil World Cup.
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world. Fans pictures from the 2014 Brazil World Cup.
Sunday Life News Fans pictures from the 2014 brazil World Cup.
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 26: Fan cheer after hearing the news that Team USA will advance to the next round of the World Cup after watching the US v Germany World Cup match in Dupont Circle park June 26, 2014 in Washington, United States. The German Embassy in the United States provided two large-screen televisions for fans of both teams to watch the last game of the 'Group of Death' match. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 26: Maria Pena watches USA play Germany in a World Cup soccer match on one of two large screens placed for fans in Grant Park on June 26, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Organizers expected as many as 20,000 people to watch the game in the park. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
French supporters kiss before the group E World Cup soccer match between Ecuador and France at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, June 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
RECIFE, BRAZIL - JUNE 26: A fan of the United States looks on in the rain during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil group G match between the United States and Germany at Arena Pernambuco on June 26, 2014 in Recife, Brazil. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
CURITIBA, BRAZIL - JUNE 26: A Russia fan enjoys the atmosphere prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group H match between Algeria and Russia at Arena da Baixada on June 26, 2014 in Curitiba, Brazil. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Fans pose during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group E match between Honduras and Switzerland at Arena Amazonia on June 25, 2014 in Manaus, Brazil. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - JUNE 26: A Belgium fan cheers during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group H match between South Korea and Belgium at Arena de Sao Paulo on June 26, 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
RECIFE, BRAZIL - JUNE 23: A Mexico fan poses during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group A match between Croatia and Mexico at Arena Pernambuco on June 23, 2014 in Recife, Brazil. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
MANAUS, BRAZIL - JUNE 25: A Honduras fan shows her support prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group E match between Honduras and Switzerland at Arena Amazonia on June 25, 2014 in Manaus, Brazil. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
A Portugal supporter dances in the stands before the group G World Cup soccer match between the United States and Portugal at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil, Sunday, June 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
CUIABA, BRAZIL - JUNE 24: Colombia fans pose for a photo during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group C match between Japan and Colombia at Arena Pantanal on June 24, 2014 in Cuiaba, Brazil. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
CUIABA, BRAZIL - JUNE 24: Colombia fans cheer during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group C match between Japan and Colombia at Arena Pantanal on June 24, 2014 in Cuiaba, Brazil. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
Fans of the Colombia team smile posing for the photographer before the group C World Cup soccer match between Japan and Colombia at the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba, Brazil, Tuesday, June 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
CURITIBA, BRAZIL - JUNE 23: A fan looks on prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group B match between Australia and Spain at Arena da Baixada on June 23, 2014 in Curitiba, Brazil. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 20: French soccer team fans watch their team play against the Switzerland team as they watch on the screen setup at the Word Cup FIFA Fan Fest during on Copacabana beach June 20, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Italy lost 1-0. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
PORTO ALEGRE, BRAZIL - JUNE 18: A fan of the Netherlands enjoys the atmosphere prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group B match between Australia and Netherlands at Estadio Beira-Rio on June 18, 2014 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
CUIABA, BRAZIL - JUNE 17: A fan looks on during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group H match between Russia and South Korea at Arena Pantanal on June 17, 2014 in Cuiaba, Brazil. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
MANAUS, BRAZIL - JUNE 17: Fans of the Brazilian football team arrive to watch a match on a giant screen in the 'Fan Fest' area in Porta Negro on June 17, 2014 in Manaus, Brazil. Brazil, the host nation of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, are due to play their second group match against Mexico in Fortaleza today. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Germany fans celebrate during a public viewing at Heiligengeistfeld watching the 2014 FIFA World Cup match between Germany and Portugal on June 16, 2014 in Hamburg, Germany. (Photo by Joern Pollex/Bongarts/Getty Images)
SALVADOR, BRAZIL - JUNE 16: Portugal fans look on prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group G match between Germany and Portugal at Arena Fonte Nova on June 16, 2014 in Salvador, Brazil. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Fans arrive for the Group G match between Germany and Portugal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil at Arena Fonte Nova on June 16, 2014 in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. (Photo by Felipe Oliveira/ FIFA via Getty Images)
PORTO ALEGRE, BRAZIL - JUNE 15: A Honduras fan looks on during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group E match between France and Honduras at Estadio Beira-Rio on June 15, 2014 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
A Colombian supporter celebrates after Teofilo Gutierrez scored his side's second goal during the group C World Cup soccer match between Colombia and Greece at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - JUNE 14: A Colombia fan holds a flag prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group C match between Colombia and Greece at Estadio Mineirao on June 14, 2014 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Belgian Fanny Neguesha, Mario Balotelli's girlfriend, attends at the group D World Cup soccer match between England and Italy at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
CUIABA, BRAZIL - JUNE 13: An Australia fan enjoys the atmosphere prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group B match between Chile and Australia at Arena Pantanal on June 13, 2014 in Cuiaba, Brazil. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
A Greek supporter waits for the start of the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Costa Rica and Greece at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil, Sunday, June 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Ecuador fans cheer outside of Maracana Stadium before the group E World Cup soccer match between Ecuador and France in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, June 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 23: Netherland soccer fans react as their team scores their second goal against Chile as they watch on a screen setup at the FIFA Fan Fest on Copacabana beach June 23, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Netherlands won the match 2-0. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - JUNE 23: Chile fans kiss prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group B match between the Netherlands and Chile at Arena de Sao Paulo on June 23, 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
An Argentina fan enjoys the atmosphere prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group F match between Argentina and Iran at Estadio Mineirao on June 21, 2014 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
A Spain fan enjoys the atmosphere prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group B match between Spain and Chile
SALVADOR, BAHIA , BRAZIL - JUNE 20: Fans arrive for the Group E match between Switzerland and France during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil at Arena Fonte Nova on June 20, 2014 in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. (Photo by Felipe Oliveira / Getty Images)
SALVADOR, BAHIA , BRAZIL - JUNE 20: Fans arrive for the Group E match between Switzerland and France during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil at Arena Fonte Nova on June 20, 2014 in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. (Photo by Felipe Oliveira / Getty Images)
An England fan wearing face paint before the game during the Group D match in the Estadio do Sao Paulo, Brazil
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 18: A Chile fan enjoys the atmosphere during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group B match between Spain and Chile at Maracana on June 18, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
RECIFE, BRAZIL - JUNE 29: A Greece fan poses prior to during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Costa Rica and Greece at Arena Pernambuco on June 29, 2014 in Recife, Brazil. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
FORTALEZA, BRAZIL - JUNE 29: Fans of the Netherlands enjoy the atmosphere prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Netherlands and Mexico at Castelao on June 29, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
MANAUS, BRAZIL - JUNE 25: A Honduras fan shows hher support prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group E match between Honduras and Switzerland at Arena Amazonia on June 25, 2014 in Manaus, Brazil. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 18: A Spain fan enjoys the atmosphere prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group B match between Spain and Chile at Maracana on June 18, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
NATAL, BRAZIL - JUNE 16: A fan of the the United States poses during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group G match between Ghana and the United States at Estadio das Dunas on June 16, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
FORTALEZA, BRAZIL - JUNE 17: A Brazil fan poses before the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group A match between Brazil and Mexico at Castelao on June 17, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
SALVADOR, BAHIA , BRAZIL - JUNE 16: Fans arrive for the Group G match between Germany and Portugal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil at Arena Fonte Nova on June 16, 2014 in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. (Photo by Felipe Oliveira/ FIFA via Getty Images)
CURITIBA, BRAZIL - JUNE 16: An Iran fan shows support prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group F match between Iran and Nigeria at Arena da Baixada on June 16, 2014 in Curitiba, Brazil. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 15: Argentina fans cheer prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group F match between Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina at Maracana on June 15, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

But after becoming only the fourth British team to reach the last four of a major tournament - following England in 1966, 1990 and 1996 - Bale admits Wales now have a taste for the intoxicating atmosphere experienced in France.

"We've had a taste of it now and we look forward to the future," Bale said. "We have confidence. We don't want to turn up to just one tournament, it's about the bigger picture.

"But we have no regrets. We're a proud nation and proud of what we achieved."

Bale added: “We obviously would have loved to have gone to the final and challenged for the trophy, but it wasn’t meant to be.

“We’ve given everything on the pitch, off the pitch. We’ve tried to enjoy the experience of the tournament.

“We want to thank all the fans for all the support we’ve had, it’s been absolutely incredible.”

Despite Ronaldo proving the difference between the two teams — Bale and the Portuguese superstar embraced at the end of the game — the Welsh wizard insisted that the game was about more than the two Real Madrid players.

“He (Ronaldo) is a natural goalscorer and he scored yet again,” Bale said. “It’s not about them, it’s about us.

“We’re disappointed, naturally, but they got the first goal and were a bit lucky on the second.

“We tried our hardest to get back in the game. We fought until the last second and we’re sorry we couldn’t get to the final but we gave everything.

“We’re disappointed, but we’ll pick ourselves up. We’re a proud bunch and we’ll stick together and lift the spirits and go again.

“Nobody expected us to get this far, but we’re very proud and we’ll continue to battle on.”

Wales manager Chris Coleman echoed Bale’s comments by insisting that Euro 2016 will be the start for the current team rather than the culmination of their work and potential.

“Whatever the end date of this tournament was, it’s not the end date for this group of players,” Coleman said. “They’ll be there a lot longer than I’ll be there.

“It still hurts, the fact that we’ve lost the semi-final, and the players are gutted, but that will subside. When they look back, they need to understand they have done their country proud.

“Once you give what you have got, it’s always enough, even if you don’t get the result.”

Coleman added: “We found it hard to open the game up. When the first goal went in we just lost our concentration for five minutes.

“When you’re up against this kind of quality, you’ll be punished. They capitalised on that.

“But you win and you lose. We’ve done plenty of winning. It’s our turn tonight to lose, it’s not a nice feeling, but congratulations to Portugal and I hope they go on and win the final.”

Portugal, meanwhile, go on to contest their first major final since losing as hosts to Greece in the Euro 2004 decider in Lisbon.

And Ronaldo, who played in that game and a 2006 World Cup semi-final defeat to France, insists Portugal can beat either France or Germany in Sunday’s final in Paris.

“It’s what we have dreamt of since the beginning,” Ronaldo said. “We knew it would be a long road and we’re still in the tournament.

“The players deserve it, the coach deserves it. We haven’t won anything yet but the dream is still alive.

“I’ve always said my dream was to win a trophy with Portugal. We’re closer to doing it and I believe that we’ll win.

“With a lot of work, humility and the spirit of self-sacrifice, which I have always shown in my career, these sorts of things are doable.”

Belfast Telegraph

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