Bale's team 'heroes' despite loss

GLOWING PRAISE: Bale (above) and manager Coleman spoke of how proud they were of the team's achievements.


    Jul 08, 2016

    Bale's team 'heroes' despite loss


    AS GARETH Bale and his Wales team-mates bade farewell to Euro 2016,

    a commonly expressed hope

    was that their achievements

    in France would represent

    a beginning and not an end.

    Having waited 58 years

    to play at a major tournament,

    Wales made up for lost time

    in style, topping their group

    above England and sinking

    Belgium in the quarter-finals

    before falling to Cristiano

    Ronaldo's Portugal.

    Along the way, their

    good-natured fans won

    admirers across the continent,

    leaving the players determined

    to make sure that they will

    not have another six decades

    to wait for another overseas


    While the meek nature of

    Wednesday's 2-0 defeat by

    Portugal saw their tournament

    end with a whimper, the

    overwhelming emotion was pride.

    Both Bale and manager

    Chris Coleman spoke of

    how proud they were of the

    team's achievements and

    there was glowing praise

    in the British newspapers.

    "You did us proud boys"

    was the headline in Daily

    Mirror. The Guardian and

    Daily Express branded

    Coleman's team "heroes".

    With an average age

    of 26.9, Wales' squad is

    unlikely to undergo major

    surgery by the time the

    World Cup campaign begins.

    The 3-1 win over Belgium,

    meanwhile, will engender

    belief that Wales can go

    toe-to-toe with any team.

    Looking further ahead,

    the challenge facing the

    Football Association of Wales

    is to ensure that the France

    fairy tale produces a happy

    ending that endures.