Wales' players were in jubilant mood on Saturday as they got their Euro 2016 campaign off to the best possible start by beating Slovakia 2-1 in Bordeaux.
After waiting 58 years to return to a major tournament since the 1958 World Cup, Chris Coleman’s side quickly made up for lost time when they opened the scoring only 10 minutes into the match through a Gareth Bale free-kick.
Slovakia gradually came back into the game during the second half after a double substitution, eventually finding an equaliser on the hour mark when Ondrej Duda capitalised on some poor defending to score, but Chris Coleman made a couple of changes of his own around 20 minutes from time which would ultimately decide the result.
Hal Robson-Kanu and Joe Ledley, who broke his leg only five weeks earlier, replaced Jonny Williams and David Edwards in midfield and both proved decisive in helping send the European Championship newcomers on their way to a historic result.
In the 81st minute, Ledley played a superb long pass to Aaron Ramsey, who in turn nicked the ball past Martin Skrtel and into the path of Robson-Kanu for the Reading attacker to scuff the ball into the back of the net with his shin and cue wild celebrations among the Welsh supporters in attendance.
Slovkaia striker Adam Nemec came close to spoiling the party four minutes before the end with a header that clattered off the post, but Coleman’s men managed to hold on to secure all three points and take big step towards the knockout stages.
They now go into Thursday’s match against England sitting atop Group B after Roy Hodgson’s side drew 1-1 with Russia in their opener and, with 16 of the tournament's 24 teams going through to the next round, will almost certainly be extending their stay in France if they pick up another positive result.
Needless to say, a handful of players in the squad were quick to take to Twitter after the match, with the likes of Bale, Ramsey, Robson-Kanu, Ledley and defender Ben Davies all expressing their delight with the result.
David Cotterill (@cotterill_david) June 11, 2016
simon church (@churchy18) June 11, 2016