Joe Allen and Wales through to Euro 2016 semi-final after 3-1 win over Belgium

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Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen helped Wales to a 3-1 win over Belgium in Wednesday night’s Euro 2016 quarter-final.

Chris Coleman’s side entered the clash as slight outsiders, given the star-studded side Belgium manager Marc Wilmots was able to field.

Wilmots left Reds trio Simon Mignolet, Divock Origi and Christian Benteke on the substitutes’ bench, providing an indication of the quality at his disposal.

One of the Red Devils’ starters, Radja Nainggolan, opened the scoring on 13 minutes, exploiting some slow defensive work from Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsay to hammer home from 30 yards out.

This only served to kickstart Wales, whose attacking triumvirate of Ramsay, Gareth Bale and Hal Robson-Kanu continued to trouble Belgium on the break.

It was a former Reds target who levelled the scores on the half-hour mark, however, with Swansea City centre-back Ashley Williams powering home a header following an inch-perfect corner kick.

Belief spread throughout the Wales lineup, and despite the efforts of Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and Co., Coleman’s outfit enjoyed dominance for much of the contest.

Robson-Kanu put Wales ahead with an excellent strike after half-time, turning in the box to evade three Belgium defenders before placing the ball beyond Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, while a late header from substitute Sam Vokes sealed the victory.

The victory sent the travelling Welsh into raptures, and sent Mignolet, Origi and Benteke crashing out of the competition.

LILLE, FRANCE - Friday, July 1, 2016: Wales players applaud the supporters as they celebrate the 3-1 victory over Belgium at full time after the UEFA Euro 2016 Championship Quarter-Final match at the Stade Pierre Mauroy. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Ramsay, Williams, Bale and midfielder Joe Ledley all stood out for Wales, but for Liverpool supporters Allen’s composed performance in the middle of the park will have caught the eye.

Allen showcased his trademark vision and tactical intelligence throughout, dictating play and contributing to a staunch defensive effort.

The 26-year-old has been one of the standout performers of the tournament, and he and goalkeeper Danny Ward could return to Merseyside with silverware in hand following this victory.

Ward and Welsh academy midfielder Harry Wilson took to Twitter shortly after the win to mark the celebrations:

https://twitter.com/dan_ward52/status/748989289917214720


Wales next take on Portugal in the semi-finals on July 6, and Coleman will be confident his side can defeat Fernando Santos’ shaky outfit.

Reds manager Jurgen Klopp will have taken a vested interest in Friday night’s clash, as while Allen has been linked with a move away from Merseyside this summer, he may be playing his way into the German’s first-team thoughts.

With England duo Jordan Henderson and James Milner failing to make an impact in France, and priority target Piotr Zielinski yet to join from Udinese, Allen may deserve a starting role.

For now, however, Allen must focus on international matters, and help Wales to unprecedented Euro 2016 glory.

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