Wales won't freeze on biggest night of all - Gareth Bale
GARETH BALE has promised Wales will not freeze on the biggest night in the nation's football history.
Wales meet Portugal in Lyon on Wednesday night for a place in the final of Euro 2016. It is a remarkable achievement for a country who were ranked 117th in the world less than five years ago, but Bale believes the adventure has not ended for Wales yet.
"We think it's our time - we don't want it to end here," Bale said ahead of the first major tournament semi-final in Wales' history.
"We want to continue the journey and keep on fighting. We are going to go out and enjoy the occasion. We are not going to fear anything; we are not going to freeze. Hopefully, our best is good enough and we can make more history."
Bale trained away from the rest of the Wales squad on Monday morning following the 3-1 quarter-final victory over Belgium. However, the 26-year-old said it was nothing to be concerned about as he felt a "little bit stiff" after the game in Lille and was merely having an extra day of recovery.
Much of the build-up to the semi-final has centred on the battle between Bale and Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo. But Bale is confident that Wales can shackle the Portuguese dangerman: "Of course, he's a fantastic player, everybody knows what he can do," said Bale.
"But we have always spoken about what we do, what we do ourselves as a team. We don't worry about the opposition. We know a lot of teams we've played against have got very good individuals but, for us, it's about the team.
"The team is the star for us. There's no stars in our team - we all work as one. We all run for each other, tackle for each other, fight for each other - and if the team performs well we are able to shut out a lot of threats."
Portugal defender Pepe is a doubt for the semi-final after missing training on Monday with a thigh complaint. Bale says the loss of his Real Madrid team-mate would be a big blow for Portugal, while insisting that the absence of suspended pair Ben Davies and Aaron Ramsey has provided extra motivation for Wales to play either France or Germany in the Paris final on Sunday.
"Pepe is a fantastic player, he's incredible for Madrid," said Bale.
"He's a very professional athlete and a great man. It'll be a big loss, but I'm sure he'll do everything he can to get fit. We've lost Aaron and Ben and it's horrible for them. The rules are difficult to take, you wish, coming into the tournament that yellow cards and stuff would get wiped [by the semi-final stage].
"You feel for them and I'm sure deep down they'll be hurt, but they are not showing it. They are doing everything to get behind the team. It's given us even more motivation for us to win the semi-final and so they can play again.
"We are not doing it just for the nation and the badge now, we are doing it for them as well."