Euro 2016: Gareth Bale says Wales aim to win whole tournament

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Wales Sport in Dinard, France
Gareth Bale: Every day is Joe Allen day

Gareth Bale says Wales have the belief to win Euro 2016, after claiming a "moral victory" over England by finishing top of Group B.

Despite losing 2-1 to England, Chris Coleman's side beat their neighbours to the group's summit with an impressive 3-0 dismantling of Russia.

Playing in their first major tournament for 58 years, Wales face Northern Ireland in the last 16 on Saturday.

"Obviously you come to the tournament for one reason. To win," said Bale.

He continued: "Not to play three games and go home. The ultimate goal is we want to try and win the tournament.

"It's a cliche but we'll take each one as it comes. Yes we would love to win it, but all our focus now is on Northern Ireland."

'Nice to get one over the English'

Wales line up
Wales finished top of Group B and will play Northern Ireland in the last 16

Bale had stoked the fires ahead of Wales' defeat against England, claiming they were prouder and more passionate about representing their country than Roy Hodgson's men.

Despite the defeat by England, Wales finished top of Group B thanks to their victory over Russia and England's goalless draw with Slovakia - giving Coleman's side a favourable draw for the knockout stages.

The eight teams on Wales' side of the draw have no major international honours between them, whereas the other side - featuring Spain, Germany, Italy, France and England - boasts 20 titles.

Wales would face Hungary or Belgium in the quarter-finals if they were to beat Northern Ireland but, despite revelling in finishing above England, Bale is not looking too far ahead.

"It is a moral victory for us, bragging rights to finish top. It is always nice to get one over on the English," he said.

"We can't think about Belgium. We know our side of the draw. Maybe it is more favourable. But it is not favourable if you don't get through."

'Massive journey'

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale made his debut for Wales aged 16 in a friendly against Trinidad and Tobago in May 2006

Wales' match against Northern Ireland will be just their second in the knockout stages of a major tournament, with their last being a quarter-final defeat by Brazil in the 1958 World Cup.

Before their match against Russia, the squad watched BBC Wales' documentary 'Wales: The Road to the Euros', which charted the national side's long and painful wait for an appearance at an international competition.

According to Bale, the programme resonated with the current squad, who have enjoyed a remarkable rise in recent years.

"It's an amazing feeling in the camp. We've not just been working on it two years," he added.

"It's been since we were all young boys, playing together. I was 16, some were 17, 18," he added.

"We've come through a massive journey. We've been in some bad places, we were 112th in the world.

"Now we're in the last 16 of the Euros. These days are to enjoy, some of the others not so much."

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