Euro 2016 adventure is only the start for Wales insists Chris Coleman

Wales celebrate 3-1 victory over Belgium 
Wales celebrate 3-1 victory over Belgium  Wales celebrate 3-1 victory over Belgium 

CHRIS Coleman believes Wales' Euro 2016 adventure is only the start of the journey, and not the end.

Wales' remarkable run to the last four of the Euros sees them take on Portugal on tonight a 8pm for a place in the final.

But manager Coleman has predicted an even brighter future for Gareth Bale and company with Wales starting their World Cup qualifying campaign in September.

There is also the prospect of Wales competing in next summer's Confederations Cup in Russia, their participation in which would be confirmed by them overcoming Portugal and world champions Germany beating France in the other semi-final.

"People think the end of this tournament is the end of this journey, but it's not," said Coleman.

"It's part of the journey. The experience this group of boys will get from this.

"They'll be here long after I am. This success is part of the learning process.

"We're here to compete and learn, and let's see if our best is enough to compete against the best."

Bale and his Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the build-up to the semi-final showdown in Lyon.

Given Real's Champions League triumph, some observers are seeing this game as a straight shoot-out to decide this year's Ballon D'Or award.

No-one can dispute Ronaldo's phenomenal goal-scoring ability - as well as nearly 500 goals at club level he has scored a record 60 times for Portugal in 131 appearances - but Bale is recognised as the greater team player.

"You can't manufacture or're either a team player or you're not," said Coleman.

"You're either comfortable being in a team environment with people putting themselves out there knowing they're not guaranteed anything even if they do their best, but want to do it for their country, or you're not.

"Baleo is exactly like that, like all the lads. But it's not just this tournament.

"We had a whole campaign to get through to get here where they were exactly the same.

"Where we find ourselves now, it hasn't happened overnight. The players, the bonds they have together, that togetherness."

Portugal have managed to make the last four despite failing to win one game in 90 minutes, while Wales have won four of their five matches.

"I felt if we got it right we could get out of the group," said Coleman.

"After that you never know who you'll get in the last 16, and then the quarter-final.

"I told the players that I genuinely believed we'd arrive at that stage.

"I didn't know what would happen after that, if I'm honest. But we've got a good team."