Euro 2016 semifinal not about Gareth Bale vs. Cristiano Ronaldo
Gareth Bale and Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo will face each other for the first time in international competition.
Gareth Bale insists the Euro 2016 semifinal between Wales and Portugal is not about him and Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo.
Wales stormed into the last four of a major championship for the first time with a historic 3-1 victory over Belgium on Friday night.
They will now meet Ronaldo's Portugal in Lyon on Wednesday with a place in the final of Euro 2016 at stake.
Much of the focus will be on Bale and Ronaldo -- the two most expensive players in football history -- but the Welshman says he does not care about their private battle and says he is only interested in creating more history for his country.
"It's Portugal versus Wales, nothing more," Bale said when asked about coming up against his teammate Ronaldo at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais.
"It's in our hands now, but we can't afford to look past the semifinal. We just have to keep doing what we've been doing and we'll stick to that."
Wales' only previous taste of a major tournament, the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, saw them reach the quarterfinal stage before losing 1-0 to Brazil and a teenager called Pele.
But Chris Coleman's current side eclipsed that achievement by overturning Radja Nainggolan's early strike in Lille with goals from skipper Ashley Williams, Hal Robson-Kanu and Sam Vokes.
"We're very proud at what the '58 team did," said Bale. "They had some amazing players.
"But we've always spoken that this is our time to shine, and we've definitely done that.
"It's going to be an amazing day [of the semifinal], we've already made history and hopefully we can make more.
"We're just enjoying being here, we're enjoying the ride -- It's our time and we look forward to the semi-final."
Belgium are ranked second in the world, but Bale's prematch suggestion that Wales are their bogey team now looks even more accurate.
Wales are unbeaten in four games against the Red Devils over the last two-and-a-half years, having drawn twice in Brussels and beaten them in their Euro qualifying campaign just over a year ago.
But, whereas that Bale-inspired 1-0 win in Cardiff was often a backs-to-the-wall exercise, this was a convincing victory which was fully deserved and underlined the improvement made under manager Coleman.
"It's just incredible. We knew we had it in us, we obviously had a game plan," Bale said.
"We felt we knew Belgium well from previous games and we executed the plan amazingly.
"We covered every blade of glass and definitely deserved the win.
"We've grown in confidence, we've been learning from maybe mistakes we've made before.
"We kept the ball very well and we felt very comfortable.
"We know they're a very good side with a lot of talented individuals, but we showed what a true team we are.''
Wales must take on Portugal without suspended pair Ben Davies and Aaron Ramsey.
Both players picked up their second cautions of the tournament against Belgium and midfielder Ramsey, in particular, will be a huge loss to Wales.
Ramsey has been responsible for more goals -- scoring one and with four assists - than any other player at Euro 2016.
James Collins is likely to come in to the centre of defence in Davies' absence with Andy King the favourite to replace Ramsey.