Euro 2016: Wales fans pulled us through, claims Gareth Bale

• Wales dug deep to beat Slovakia and put one foot in the last 16
• ‘It was spine-tingling to hear the anthem sung like that,’ said Aaron Ramsey

As the Wales players made their way on to the team bus after the game, fuelled with optimism but looking physically and mentally spent, three million people back home were saluting their heroes. Yet for Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and everybody else connected with Chris Coleman’s team, it was the 24,000 Wales fans inside the stadium who deserved all the praise.

Bale described the supporters as “our 12th man”, Ramsey said he had been close to tears during a national anthem sung with such fervour that Coleman admitted he had to try to detach himself from the emotion of the occasion, and Danny Ward, in what was intended as a compliment, said that he struggled to get his message across to the Wales defence in the first half because of the din behind his goal.

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