Belfast Telegraph

Wales goalscoring heroes get special praise as underdogs march on

By Paul Burrows

Victorious Wales manager Chris Coleman hailed the three goalscorers who helped his side book their place in the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

Ashley Williams, Hal Robson-Kanu and Sam Vokes scored the goals as the Welsh beat Belgium 3-1 in Lille to create history.

Before this tournament Wales had only ever qualified for one major finals, the 1958 World Cup, and now they are in the last four.

Coleman said: "I'm really happy for Sam Vokes actually because he doesn't always start, but he always turns up and he's worked incredibly hard.

"For Ashley Williams to score, Ash doesn't score many, but he could have had a hat-trick tonight. But what a leader - absolutely brilliant.

"And Hal Robson-Kanu, wow, what a great performance.

"And Andy King coming on tonight, he did a great job for us. He's a great fella to have in the dressing room."

Captain Williams was more interested in his team's passage into the final four than his 30th-minute effort which cancelled out Radja Nainggolan stunning opener after 13 minutes, which came after Belgium dominated the opening period of the game.

"I'm pleased. Obviously I'm more pleased that we got through. but I don't score many," said Williams, who had only previously scored one international goal.

"It was nice to help the team out, I thought we deserved a goal at that period as well - we were playing some good stuff.

"It's hard to take in at the minute to be honest.

"We've spoken about the character in this team before. Our first time in the quarter-finals (of the European Championships), to be one down against such a quality opponent, I thought we showed unbelievable strength of character to come back."

Robson-Kanu was preferred to Vokes, who had started the last 16 game against Northern Ireland last Saturday which Wales won 1-0.

He spun three Belgian defenders before putting Wales in front 10 minutes into the second half.

"We did well to get back into the game in the first half," said Robson-Kanu. "We knew if we kept playing how we did in the first half, we would get our just rewards and that was it.

"We've played them a few times over the last few years so we know how to play against them.

"It was disappointing to go 1-0 down but we just kept to our game-plan, kept moving the ball and obviously we got the goal back and took it on from there," he said.

"We've got world-class players in our team, so defensively we can be as solid as a rock and I think with those two combined, we stand a good chance.

"We'll enjoy tonight and prepare for the next game."

Belfast Telegraph