International

Ramsey, Bale get Welsh party started

2015-10-14 08:27
Wales' midfielder Aaron Ramsey (C) controls the ball during the Euro 2016 qualifying football match against Israel. (AFP)

Cardiff - Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale scored as Wales celebrated reaching next year's European Championship by defeating minnows Andorra 2-0 in Cardiff in their final qualifying match on Tuesday.

Wales had qualified for their first major tournament in 57 years on Saturday when they lost 2-0 away to Bosnia-Herzegovina but Cyprus's 2-1 win in Israel guaranteed them a place in the top two in Group B.

Second-half goals from Ramsey and Bale - his seventh of the campaign - got the qualification party started at the Cardiff City Stadium and ensured that Chris Coleman's men signed off on a winning note.

"They were labelled the 'golden generation' before they'd earned it. Now they've earned it," said manager Coleman, whose players cavorted beneath a shower of tickertape and champagne on the pitch after the game.

"They deserve it. You get team spirit from working hard for each other on the pitch and coming through tough situations and big challenges, and they've done it time after time."

Belgium's 3-1 win over Israel prevented Wales from reclaiming first place in the group, but after more than half a century in the international wilderness, there were few in the 34,000 sell-out crowd who cared.

Real Madrid star Bale will do something former team-mate Ryan Giggs never did when he leads his team into battle in France next year, which will be Wales' first major tournament appearance since the 1958 World Cup.

"We've put the hard work in for years and years and this is what we've worked hard for," a beaming Bale told Sky Sports.

"It's time to enjoy it, but as soon as France comes round, we'll be looking to make an impact.

"It's something special. The fans, what can I say? We have the best fans in the world. Obviously a great thanks to the gaffer (Coleman) and everybody involved. We're looking forward to the future."

Read more on:    euro 2016  |  aaron ramsey  |  gareth bale  |  soccer
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