Wales manager Chris Coleman says not being afraid to fail was key to his country’s greatest night of football as they reached the Euro 2016 semi-finals.
“Don’t be afraid to have dreams,” the Wales manager told BBC Sport.
“Amazing performance, amazing result,” tweeted Prime Minister David Cameron.
The result secured Wales’ first semi-final place at a major tournament, and came against the team second in Fifa’s official world rankings.
Wales were ranked 117th in the world in October 2011 with Coleman facing calls to quit his role from some Wales fans, but they have now reached the last four in their first major finals since the 1958 World Cup.
“Four years ago I was as far away from this as you could imagine,” said Coleman, 46. “I’m enjoying it, it’s great and we deserve it.
“If you work hard enough and you’re not afraid to dream then you’re not afraid to fail.
“I’m not afraid to fail. Everybody fails. I have had more failures than I’ve had success.”
- Match report: Wales reach first semi-final
- ‘Best display, best result’ – why win dwarfs other achievements
- Who rated highest in Wales win?
‘We can go as far as we want’
Wales’ victory against Belgium means forward Gareth Bale, 26, will face his Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo in Wednesday’s semi-final against Portugal.
“We fought as hard as anyone and covered every blade of grass and we thoroughly deserve to be in the semi-final,” Bale, who has scored three of Wales’ 10 goals in France, told BBC Sport.
“We know what we are doing, we need to just keep enjoying ourselves and doing what we have been and we can go as far as we want.
“It feels incredible to have made the semi-final, but we said it in all our interviews, we aren’t just here to make up the numbers.”
Skipper Ashley Williams says Wales are now beyond where they expected to go as their adventure in France continues.
“It is difficult to put this into perspective for what it means for Wales,” the 31-year-old Swansea City defender told BBC Sport.
“We were happy to get here, that was a big thing and now the group just keeps going.
“I love the guys, the fans have been brilliant and I am sure everyone at home is enjoying it as well. We do it for them and for ourselves, we keep going.”
Knowing their opponents
Wales’ second goalscorer, Hal Robson-Kanu, believes knowing how Belgium play played a big part.
“We have played Belgium a few times in the last few years so we know how to play against them,” said Hal Robson-Kanu, who put Wales 2-1 up with a sublime turn and finish in the box.
“It was disappointing to go 1-0 down but we kept to our game plan. We kept moving the ball and we got the goal back and took it on from there.
“It’s something we’ve worked so hard for in six, seven, eight years, being ranked where we were to where we are now, it’s a credit to everybody involved and long may it continue.”
On his superb goal, Robson-Kanu – who is without a club after being released by Championship side Reading – added: “I presume they thought I would lay it off – and I have Cruyffed and put it in the net.”
Learning from their defeat by England
Coleman says his side have managed to work on their mistakes and focus on what has been successful across the team in order to reach the semi-finals.
“All the players in the team can pass the ball so that’s what we tried to do, whether it’s Belgium or whoever,” Coleman added.
“That was my only gripe in the England game, we never passed the ball. In all the other games we’ve tried to pass the ball and stick to our strengths and our identity.
“We were determined to do it tonight. Even if that meant we didn’t get a result, we wanted to come and show people we can be a very offensive team.”
- ^ 3-1 last-eight win over Belgium, (www.bbc.co.uk)
- ^ Coleman facing calls to quit his role (www.bbc.co.uk)
- ^ Match report: Wales reach first semi-final (www.bbc.co.uk)
- ^ ‘Best display, best result’ – why win dwarfs other achievements (www.bbc.co.uk)
- ^ Who rated highest in Wales win? (www.bbc.co.uk)
- ^ 2-0 home defeat (www.bbc.co.uk)
- ^ beaten by England (www.bbc.co.uk)