Wales have been the biggest surprise at the European Championships, topping Group B and reaching the semi-finals with an impressive 3-1 win over Belgium.
Gareth Bale has spearheaded the charge to the final four, scoring three goals and shining on the big stage where so many others before him have floundered.
Like Iceland reaching the quarter-final, nobody could have expected Chris Coleman’s team to be one game away from the final. Only Portugal, who have been largely unconvincing in their run to the semis, stand in their way.
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It’s to Bale’s credit that he has remained humble despite his status as Wales’ star. He’s a Galactico; the world’s most expensive footballer, happily sharing a locker room with the unemployed Hal Robson-Kanu.
That is the crux of Wales’ success. Bale was criticised for saying Wales have more pride than England but the Dragons proved that to be 100 per cent correct.
Their journey makes Toni Kroos’ pre-tournament prediction entirely laughable.
In yesterday’s press conference, Bale admitted that his Real Madrid teammate told him to expect to be back home within a couple of weeks.
Now that they’re one game away from a potential meeting with Kroos’ Germany in the final, Bale is desperate to see the midfielder in Sunday’s final.
“I remember Toni Kroos saying we’d only have three games here,” Bale revealed, per the Daily Mail. “So it would be nice to meet him in the final.”
"It was a good laugh and a joke - a bit of banter - but I've had a lot of abuse over the years.
"When we used to lose and we were 100th in the world, people would say 'you have nine weeks holiday instead of two'.
"So it's great to finally be in a major tournament actually doing great things with our national team."
Euro 2004 all over again
Before Euro 2016, the furthest Wales had reached in a major tournament was the quarter-final of the 1958 World Cup.
Having eclipsed that, Bale admits the belief is there that an upset akin to Greece’s at Euro 2004 could happen.
“We've obviously exceeded a lot of people's expectations, we understand that," the 26-year-old added.
"But we always believed we could go all the way - you see the fairytale of Greece and Denmark in the past and you think why can't we do it?
"We grew as a team in qualifying and we've just grown more throughout the tournament.
"When we've had to win ugly we've won ugly, and when we've had to play football we've played football."
It could take more ugly football to beat a Portugal side that hasn’t won a game inside of 90 minutes.
But, with Kroos’ prediction on his mind, it would be wrong to bet against Bale.
Can Wales win Euro 216? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
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