Euro 2016: How did Gareth Bale perform against Belgium?

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Gareth Bale helped Wales book a Euro 2016 semi-final spot with a 3-1 victory against Belgium in Lille.

We kept a close eye on the Real Madrid star to see how he'd perform in arguably the biggest game in Wales' football history. Would he prove himself, yet again?

Positioning

Radja Nainggolan challenges Gareth Bale during the Euro 2016 quarterfinal soccer match between Wales and Belgium
(Frank Augstein/AP)

Bale has been given a licence to roam in a system which allows him and Aaron Ramsey to play as number 10s. The tactic has worked well for Wales and it almost paid off in the first half on a couple of occasions when he picked the ball up in deep-lying areas and was able to run at inexperienced Belgium defenders.

Finishing

Gareth Bale celebrates at the end of the Euro 2016 quarterfinal soccer match between Wales and Belgium
(Martin Meissner/AP)

Came into the game as the tournament's joint top scorer with three goals, albeit two of them coming from trademark free-kicks. Threatened danger in the first half, but his accuracy and power let him down on this occasion. A shot on the run ended with him rippling the side netting before a second shot on his weaker right foot saw a save by Thibaut Courtois.

Did not get a sight of goal in the second half, but Belgium could never relax against him.

Aerial presence

Gareth Bale celebrates with the Welsh team after his teammate Hal Robson Kanu scored his side's second goal
(Frank Augstein/AP)

Bale has an amazing leap, be it from a standing start or whether he is able to attack the ball. It's an ability which has made the Madrid forward one of the most feared headers of the ball in Spanish football. But he did not get the chance to show his heading prowess in Lille as the crosses which Wales did send in his direction were over-hit.

Impact

Gareth Bale, Neil Taylor and Joe Allen celebrate after winning 3-1 during the Euro 2016 quarterfinal soccer match between Wales and Belgium
(Frank Augstein/AP)

Bale did not add to his three goals in the tournament, but there was no denying his importance in this game. Belgium were worried every time he picked the ball up and he was able to drop deep and his movement across the line was top class. No defence can rest easily against him, and he contributed to the team's victory.