Goal-scorer Gareth Bale saluted the army of Welsh fans as they beat Slovakia 2-1 in the opening game of their Euro 2016 campaign thanks to goals from Bale, and a winner nine minutes from time by Hal Robson-Kanu.
Wales were competing in their first major tournament in 58 years, and in Bordeaux on Saturday afternoon Chris Coleman got his tactics spot on as the Welsh rallied from a Slovakia fight back.
Bale’s free-kick inside the first 20 minutes sent the Welsh fans into delirium; as one of the Real Madrid’s star free-kick evaded the clutches of Slovakia’s Matus Kozacik.
But it could have been all different for the Welsh if it wasn’t for Ben Davies clearing Marek Hamsik’s effort from the line inside the first five minutes after the Napoli midfielder waltzed through the Welsh defence.
Going into the second-half Wales looked comfortable, but Slovakia’s substitute Ondrej Duda changed the mood with the equaliser with his first touch.
But the Welsh rallied and Robson-Kanu scuffed home the winner to give Wales a huge chance of making the round of 16.
Bale hails Wales fans as ‘best in the world’
A large part of Wales’ success will hinge on the performance of Bale; and although it wasn’t a stand out performance by any means, his quality certainly shone through at times.
And speaking after the game, he said: "What can I say, it was like a home game. Our fans are the best in the world and fully got behind us. We gave them something to celebrate.”
Bale free-kick should have been saved by Kozacik; but luckily for Bale the ball found its way into the net which gave Wales a superb start.
"A memorable moment, a historic moment for our country. The most important thing is we got the three points,” Bale said of his first goal at a major international tournament.
After drawing level Slovakia looked dangerous; and Wales had to dig in, but Robson-Kanu scored after good work from Aaron Ramsey.
The team spirit was evident, and Bale finished by saying that ‘everyone’ has a part to play, and that Wales will keep ‘fighting’ for each other. But next up is the small matter of England in Lens on Thursday afternoon.