Euro 2016: Wales knocked out after semi-final loss

Fans applaud the Wales team after the game ends Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Fans applaud the Wales team after the game ends

Wales' dream of becoming the first British team in 50 years to reach the final of a major tournament is over after they were knocked out of Euro 2016.

The biggest football match in the nation's history ended 2-0 to Portugal in the semi-final on Wednesday.

Thousands of Welsh fans travelled to France for the historic game in Lyon.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Wales' First Minister Carywn Jones were among those to give praise.

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Media captionFans in Lyon said Wales' success in the tournament was like "winning the World Cup"
Image copyright Getty Images

Mr Cameron tweeted: "Well done to @FAWales for their fantastic performance during #Euro2016. You've inspired a nation and made Britain proud."

Mr Jones said: "Very proud again tonight. Sad it's over but @FAWales and fans fantastic throughout this historic #EURO2016. Diolch. #TogetherStronger."

Despite their loss and their defeat to England in the early rounds of the tournament, Wales are set to move above their rivals in the Fifa world rankings to 11th while England are placed 13th.

Wales star Gareth Bale thanked fans for their support after the match, tweeting: "No regrets tonight, we gave everything. Thank you for all the support!! #TogetherStronger."

Image copyright Cliff Jones/Twitter
Image caption Cliff Jones, who played in the 1958 Wales team who were knocked out of the World Cup by Brazil, praised Chris Coleman's team
Image copyright Getty Images
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Gareth Bale said after the match the team could still be proud of what they had achieved

The team had surpassed the wildest expectations of their fans over four thrilling weeks in the tournament.

More than 20,000 supporters were estimated to have travelled to Lyon, with thousands more watching at fan zones around Wales.

But two quick goals early in the second half of the semi-final in Lyon from Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani dashed Wales' hopes of reaching the final.

Wales started the tournament as 100/1 outsiders but they beat Northern Ireland and Belgium in the knockout stages to reach the last four.

Image caption Out but not down - Nick True says Wales fans still have a lot to celebrate

Fans in Lyon were quick to praise their team's efforts despite bowing out of the tournament so close to the end.

Mark Morgan, of Brecon, Powys, 24, who watched the defeat in the Lyon fan zone, said: "I'm very proud of the team. Why wouldn't you be proud?"

"A squad of our players should not be getting here, let's be honest, but we've done it and I'm very proud," he added.

"I've been in tears in four games."

Image caption Brian Harry travelled from Mold in Flintshire to follow his team

Nick True, 40, of Cardiff, said: "I'm a bit gutted but also quite uplifted.

"I think we've done well. It's hard to be positive in the face of a defeat but if you look at where we have come from, and how we've managed with the bigger and better teams, it's the team spirit that's done it."

Brian Harry, 47, who lives near Mold, Flintshire, said: "It's the first time in my life time that we've been in a tournament.

"We couldn't have done better. I came all the way over here [to Lyon] just for this and I'm just so proud of the boys. They've done Wales proud."

Image copyright Michael Sheen/Twitter
Image caption Actor Michael Sheen, who is from Port Talbot, tweeted his thanks to the team

Other sports men and women took to Twitter to show their support for the Wales team after the match.

Welsh cyclist Geraint Thomas, who is currently competing in the Tour de France, tweeted: "Well the dream is over... But the boys have done themselves and Wales proud!! Fought until the end!!"

Former Wales player Robbie Savage wrote: "Well done Portugal the better team, what a header by Ronaldo, but the boys have made us all so proud of our country #cymruambyth."

Manic Street Preachers, who wrote Wales official tournament song, tweeted: "Wales we still love you - you have made us so proud - it's been a beautiful dream - from the bottom of our hearts THANK YOU - xxxxxxx."

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