Gareth Bale has branded Wales’ Euro 2016 quarter-final clash with Belgium today as the nation’s biggest game in decades.
The game is scheduled to hold at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Villeneuve-d’Ascq, while referee Damir Skomina of Slovenia will take charge of the proceedings.
Having ended a 58-year wait to reach a major tournament, Chris Coleman’s men have already matched the achievement of the 1958 team who reached the World Cup quarter-finals in Sweden before they were knocked out by a Pele goal for Brazil.
“Yes, I think it is fair to say it could be the biggest ever game for Wales, especially during my time and recent times,” said the Real Madrid star.
“We know about the quarter-final in 1958 but since then it’s definitely the biggest game in Welsh football.
“It is one we’re looking forward to, eager to get started and excited about. We just want to enjoy the occasion, take it all in, and hopefully we can get into the semis,” Bale added.
“We don’t need extra motivation, they are a very good team, we understand that, their goal is to win the Euros.
“They see every team they play as a stepping stone to the final. That’s not disrespectful, that’s their opinion. We’re happy about that.
“But it’s about us, concentrating on ourselves and trying to execute our game plan. We’ve beaten them before so it can be done again.”
Wales is the last of the British nations remaining in the competition after knocking out Northern Ireland in the last 16.
Wales have plenty of experience of facing Belgium, with the two sides having met four times in the last four years.
The Dragons of Wales were unbeaten in the last three of those games, picking up a famous win over the Red Devils in Cardiff last June.
Bale scored the winner that night, and believes it was an epochal moment for the entire Welsh set-up.
“It was my most important Welsh goal, for sure, especially at that time in the campaign,” he said.