By Dave Smith
WALES have lifted their game to ‘another level’ says Gareth Bale – but it’s still not going to be high enough to stop Belgium’s progression to the semi finals, according to Vincent Kompany.
Chris Coleman’s men are living the dream at the European Championships and the Welsh are determined it’s not going to end in Lille tomorrow night.
The confidence of Bale and Co has grown with every game and, after the demise of the English and the Irish, they aim to continue flying the British flag with pride.
Bale, who scored the winner as Wales beat Belgium 1-0 in a Euro 2016 qualifier on their way to reaching a first major tournament for 58 years.
And the Real Madrid forward believes the national side have taken their game up a notch ever since that historic moment.
They will certainly need to be on the top of their game against a Belgium side who, after a slow start, are approaching the top of theirs. Eden Hazard – compared to Messi and Ronaldy by Kompany – in particular.
Bale though thinks Wales are in a better place now – and a more formidable opposition – than they were when the two countries met in the qualifiers.
As quoted on the BBC Sport website – http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/36662140 – the national hero said: “From that night, we have gone up to another level.
“We’ve taken our game on with playing more games in our system, gelling even more. It was a changing moment for us. It was my most important Welsh goal, especially at the time of qualifying.
“It was an important goal for me personally on my 50th cap and for the team. It also gave us that belief that we can take on and beat the big teams.”
Injured Belgian captain Kompany though believes his compatriots will have too much guile and grace for the Welsh to deal with. He even thinks Belgium can go all the way to the final – maybe win it.
A BBC pundit for the duration of the finals in France, Kompany said: “You have seen in this tournament that Belgium got the job done in our group, but we were not great until the Hungary game, when we produced a big performance.
T”he key for us against Hungary was for everyone to play down the situation we were in, because we were very relaxed from the start in that game. Ultimately the big teams who have been able to perform in this tournament are the ones who have done the same.
“Once you have produced a big performance like that, it gives everyone a lot of confidence,” he added on the BBC Sport website – http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/36676297.
“Our squad is on a cloud right now and the players have every right to be positive about our form going into the quarter-finals – and about our chances of going much further in this tournament.”