UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

How Wales brought the house down

"The fans were at it right from the off – the anthem was incredible," said Aaron Ramsey after Wales's 2-1 success against Slovakia; team reporter Mark Pitman sings their praises.

Gareth Bale at the end of Saturday's game
Gareth Bale at the end of Saturday's game ©AFP/Getty Images

"Our fans are just the best in the world," said Gareth Bale as he walked off the field having repaid the travelling Welsh support with the opening goal in Saturday's historic victory against Slovakia.

Playing in their first ever UEFA European Championship, and their first major finals since the 1958 FIFA World Cup, Wales headed into the unknown against Slovakia but departed as headline-makers with a famous 2-1 win.

Substitute Hal Robson-Kanu proved the match winner after forward Bale's superb set-piece opener had been cancelled out by Ondrej Duda. "You make substitutions, sometimes they work, sometimes they don't," grinned delighted manager Chris Coleman afterwards.

The noise, colour and atmosphere at the Stade de Bordeaux mirrored that at Cardiff in June last year, when Wales prefigured their qualification with a 1-0 victory over Belgium.

It was a clear indication of how much this match meant to a nation starved of footballing success since the days of greats like Cliff Jones and John Charles. The way the national anthem reverberated around the ground before kick-off set the tone for an emotional and passion-filled performance.

This Group B game had been hyped up like no other in Welsh football history. Since the tournament draw last December, the Slovakia match had been the target. Saturday was the reason for the months of preparation, the meticulous on and off-the-field organisation – and the supporters realised exactly what it meant.

Each spontaneous rendition of the national anthem – Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Old Land of My Fathers) – during the game was sung louder than the last, fans determined this would not be another occasion of Welsh football disappointment.

"The fans were at it right from the off – the anthem was incredible," said Aaron Ramsey. "It was one of the best atmospheres I've played in, probably the best, so my hat goes off to them.

"They stuck with us again – they’ve done it time and time again – and the boys worked their socks off and we got what we deserved in the end." Midfielder Ramsey was replaced to a vocal embrace of gratitude from the Welsh support late in the match, and the solidarity and respect between players and fans has never been stronger.

But Wales still have work to do. Tough challenges await in the form of England and Russia before progress from Group B can be achieved – and celebrated. However, memories of this triumph will live long, and the supporters have left their mark, regardless of the eventual outcome. These are glorious days for the Welsh game.