Gareth Bale was quick to pay tribute to the fans after Wales marked their return to the world scene with a 2-1 Euro 2016 victory over Slovakia.
The Real Madrid player sparked wild celebrations in Bordeaux when he whipped in an early free-kick and, after the vociferous Welsh faithful were briefly silenced by Ondrej Duda’s second-half equaliser, substitute Hal Robson-Kanu scuffed home a winner with nine minutes remaining.
“It was like a home game today,” Bale told BBC One. “Our fans are just the best in the world and they fully got behind us – we gave them something to celebrate.”
When asked if his goal was one of the best of his career so far, Bale added: “It’s definitely right up there.
“It was a memorable and historic moment for our country and the most important thing is that we got the three points and gave our fans something to cheer.”
Bale was not the matchwinner as Slovakia’s Duda cancelled out his strike to become the first man since Pele to score against Wales at a major tournament.
It fell to Robson-Kanu – soon to leave Reading – to wrap up all three points with a shinned finish at the death.
Bale said of his team-mate: “For Hal to come on and get the winner was amazing.
“When the subs come on they have to make an impact and he was amazing when he came on. It’s a squad game and everyone has their part to play – we’ll keep fighting.
“We’re taking each game as it comes. We’re not thinking about this game any more, we’re thinking about England and we’ve done the first part and there are two more to go. We’ll keep fighting on.”