20,000 fans heading for Lyon as 'history boys' Wales prepare for Euro 2016 semi


More than 20,000 Wales fans are expected in Lyon as their side play the biggest game in their history this evening.

Millions more are expected to watch at home as Chris Coleman's side stand 90 minutes away from surpassing all expectation and claiming a place in the Euro 2016 final in Paris on Sunday.

The side have already been one of the stand-out stories in the tournament in France after topping their group and dispatching first Northern Ireland then hotly tipped Belgium 3-1 in the quarter-finals.

They now face Portugal in the semi-final and could become the first British team to reach the final of a major tournament for 50 years.

Tickets for the clash - with face values of 65 euros (£55) to 495 euros (£420) - have been hotly sought by Wales fans aiming to watch their side make history, with hundreds of tweets posted by supporters hoping to make it to the Parc Olympique Lyonnais.

Bars in the old town in Lyon have been decked out with Welsh flags, and supporters said the team spirit shown by the side has helped them succeed in France.

Jonny Owen, a Cardiff City fan - who charted the success of Nottingham Forest in the late 1970s and early 1980s in his film I Believe In Miracles - said: "We have a lot of sceptics among us because we have had some very lean times but the way we are playing and the way we have not feared anyone, I think we'll be fine ... we'll give it a good go.

"There's no pressure on this team unlike the English team where they have huge expectation.

"We didn't have that from the start and that's been a massive positive for us because this team has played with a real freedom."

Among the fans at tonight's clash will be Roger Speed, father of late Wales manager Gary Speed, as well as Gary's two sons.

Mr Speed told BBC News he is expecting tonight to be a "very emotional game".

He added: "It's fantastic. All he can say is, 'Go out there and do your best. Do it for Wales. We are Wales, so do you best, that is all you can do'."

Mr Speed said he was proud of what the team and his son had done, but continued: "Don't take it away from Chris. Chris has done a great job. I am behind him all the way for all he is doing. He has done brilliant."

The Prince of Wales has sent a good luck message to the side saying the players had done the country proud.

He said: "Throughout the whole championship, you have set an inspiring example of teamwork and sportsmanship and I have no doubt that in this latest game you will continue to give your country even greater cause for pride.

"Your historic achievements have already earned the support not only of Wales, but of the whole United Kingdom, and I hope you will know just how much we are all willing you on to further success."

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said: "Under a brilliant manager, this team has delivered passionate performances that have thrilled us all and cheered the country up.

"You have to look to the fairytale triumph of Leicester City for something similarly inspiring.

"This Welsh team truly are the history boys."