Gareth Bale at heart of Euro 2016 win but Wales are no one-man team

Real Madrid star scores in this Group B match but Wales team-mates prove they are ‘Together Stronger’, as the Manic Street Preachers’ song goes

Here he comes. There was a cheer of expectation from the other end of the Stade de Bordeaux, where the Dragons had their den, as Gareth Bale walked across from the left. Jonny Williams had been brought down, a free-kick given, and everyone knew this was his moment, maybe even the moment. He stood over the ball, 28 yards out. And then, with the clock showing 9.22pm, 21,179 days since the last time Wales had been anywhere like this, it began. Four big steps back, one to the side, a big breath and off Bale set.

During the warm-up here, he had sent a free-kick flying into the face of a fan, breaking his nose, blood spilling out, the player running across to apologise. This time was different. Momentarily, Matus Kozacik stepped the wrong way and that moment was enough. The ball flew over the wall and into the net; Bale flew towards the touchline, team-mates in pursuit. They came together, the men from the pitch and the men from the bench, an image reproduced.

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