Wales fans heading home after Euro 2016 fairy tale ends in Lyon


Wales' fairytale Euro 2016 campaign has drawn to a close after a thrilling four weeks in which they surpassed the wildest expectations of their fans.

Chris Coleman's side upset the odds to top their group and became one of the surprise packages of the tournament after a dominating performance against a fancied Belgian side in Lille in the quarter-finals.

Thousands of fans followed the side to all four corners of France over their six games, with millions more tuning in at home backing the Welsh.

But supporters will now be heading for home with smiles on their faces after an enthralling run which came to an end after Portugal proved too much.

A goal each from Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani early in the second half were the difference after a cagey first period in which few chances were made by either side.

Gareth Bale and his teammates battled hard to bring the game back under control but ultimately lost 2-0.

There were some ugly scenes towards the end of the game at the fan zone in Lyon - as bottles filled with gravel were thrown between rival supporters - but this was swiftly dealt with by the police.

The Welsh fans continued to sing their full repertoire of songs throughout the game and well after the final whistle, with supporters saying they were proud of the way their side had performed in France.

Rhys Appleby, 29, from Cwmbran, said: "We didn't think we'd qualify and we got to the semi-final and we won the group.

"Whatever happened after that didn't matter.

"Wales got to the semi-finals of a European Championship. We lost to Portugal, they could go on and win it. We're just having fun. It's what it's always been about, having fun."

Scott Bendle, 47, from Swansea, said: "We never turned up tonight. That's the frustrating part. We know on our day we can play and we really fancied our chances tonight.

"We missed Aaron Ramsey and Ben Davies and that was the difference.

"It's our first time, Portugal are expected to do this all the time.

"We'll be seeing more of these boys, I'll tell you."

Wales started the tournament as 100/1 outsiders but their defiant team spirit helped them to dispatch Northern Ireland and Belgium in the knockout stages to reach the last four and they were priced at 8/1 to win the tournament before kick-off in Lyon.

More than 20,000 fans were estimated to have travelled to France to watch Wales attempt to become the first British side for 50 years to reach a championship final, with the side coming agonisingly close.

It means Portugal will now face either France or Germany in Sunday's final in Paris, while Wales fans make the journey back over the Channel.

Dominic Curtis, 41, from Cardiff, said: "We've loved every minute of this. I think the worst thing about losing is that we have to go back home now.

"But the difference is we've got belief now.  Russia World Cup, the one in Qatar, the next Euros, we'll hope to be there."