The party in Cardiff has officially begun as Wales made history following qualification for their first major tournament since 1958.
Goals from Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale secured a 2-0 victory over Andorra which ignited a carnival-like atmosphere at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Ramsey, who opened the scoring in the 51st minute with a cool finish at the back post, hailed the raucous Welsh crowd on a memorable night in the capital. “The crowd was unbelievable, we knew we had qualified before and we wanted to put on a bit of a show. It was an amazing night, a historical night for Welsh football.”
Wales entered the game knowing that they had booked their ticket for France 2016 and Ramsey added: “We knew we were already through so we wanted to make it an atmosphere and that we could all celebrate together and I think we achieved that. We wanted to show our appreciation to our fans up and down the country and show what they meant to us.”
Arsenal playmaker Ramsey hailed manager Chris Coleman after the game. “It was always going to be difficult for Chris to come in early on and now he’s done an unbelievable job. To achieve something special with his country is a huge achievement and we’re delighted for him and the whole staff.”
Gareth Bale sealed the Welsh win in the 86th minute with a scuffed left footed shot. Bale, who remained quiet throughout the game, also praised the Welsh fans. The Real Madrid forward said: “The fans were incredible tonight, singing throughout the whole game, even though it was a difficult game. It was one of those games that we got the job done and we’ll enjoy the big celebrations after.” Bale admitted how significant tonight’s achievement was, he added: “It was special, very close to my heart, everyone knows what Wales means to me and to do it tonight is an incredible feeling and one of my greatest moments.”
Bale is optimistic for the future of Welsh football and hopes to inspire the nation. “It’s exciting times for Welsh football and exciting times for us.” The £80 million man added: “We want the nation behind us and get kids playing more football which is important so hopefully we can kick on with the tournament, this is just the start.”
Heads now turn to November as Wales eye a top quality friendly match. European giants like Portugal and Italy are being heavily linked of playing an international friendly against Wales which could also be held at the Millennium Stadium, to cater for the large Welsh support. A fixture with Portugal could see Bale face off against Real Madrid teammate, Cristiano Ronaldo. The first time the pair will have faced each other since the Champions League Quarter-Final of 2011. The draw for France 2016 will take place on December 12th where Wales will find out who they face.