Wales 1 - 0 Belgium (half-time 1-0)

Wales took another giant step towards Euro 2016 qualification with a potentially crucial 1-0 home victory against group rivals Belgium. Real Madrid star Gareth Bale was again their match winner, scoring mid-way through the first-half. Belgium pushed on in the second period, but were unable to break through a rugged and well organised defensive unit. It would be the first time since the 1958 World Cup finals that the country has reached a major Football championship, should they qualify.

Wales' victory over the highly-fancied Belgians was reminiscent of another famous European qualifier result for them back in 1991.

Then the opponents were the mighty Germans and a solitary Ian Rush goal proved sufficient for a historic success.

The current-day Belgium side is also one laced with quality and sit second in the current world rankings, but they were unable to penetrate the determined Welsh rear-guard on this occasion.

Freer role for Bale

Resuming his all-action role for the national side, a far freer role than that which he enjoys for his employers back in Spain, Bale proved his worth to the side yet again. The fleet-footed maestro marked his 50th cap by maintaining his consistent goal record in the competition. This was his fifth strike in six group games, an essential ingredient in their success so far.

First-half winner

The only goal of the game came after 25 minutes. Bale seized on an errant header by Radja Nainggolan in the area to fire the ball past Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois. The chance could not have not fallen to a better person from the home side's point of view, as his finish required a calm head developed from many pressure-cooker matches in the past.

Wales almost scored again ten minutes later, but Hal Robson-Kanu's effort went narrowly wide, following Courtois' save from an Aaron Ramsey effort.

Resilient defence

With something to hold on to, the Cardiff crowd cheered their boys on to greater efforts and the players responded by thwarting all that Belgium could throw at them.

True, Belgium had the bulk of the possession and the goal threat for the majority of the match, but they were restricted to just one shot on target in a spirited display by Chris Coleman's side. That single effort had been by the unlucky Nainggolan before Bale's goal, but had been capably saved by Wayne Hennessey.

Almost there

As a result, Wales can almost sense that their 57-year wait for a major finals' qualification may be soon at an end, after establishing a healthy three point gap at the top of Group B over Belgium. The Welsh delight at their result was enhanced by the news elsewhere in the group, where Israel lost 3-1 in Bosnia-Hercegovina, leaving them five points behind Wales in third place.

With just four matches remaining in the group stages and two teams guaranteed to qualify from the group, the Welsh will surely never have a better chance to reach a finals event.