by Lewis Ambrose
Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey will be celebrating an historic win for the Welsh national team as his side won 1-0 against Belgium to move one step closer to competing at Euro 2016.
Wales have only ever appeared at one major tournament – it is now 57 years since they lost a World Cup quarter-final to Brazil. They were knocked out by Pelé’s first goal at a World Cup Finals.
Yes, that is how long it is since they competed at a major tournament.
But a famous win in Cardiff on Friday night has Aaron Ramsey close to representing his country in France next year.
The unlikely win over Belgium came from a likely source, as Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale scored the only goal of the game.
The early stages saw the visiting side – who are ranked 2nd in the world – dominate possession but fail to create any real openings.
The Welsh grew into the game and eventually capitalised, with Bale punching on a mistake.
Ramsey had swung in a free-kick which Belgium struggled to deal with. As the ball appeared to be cleared Radja Nainggolan of AS Roma headed it back into the box, and Bale finished cooly.
Ramsey almost doubled the advantage after half an hour with an effort forcing Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois into a save after the Arsenal midfielder had played a superb one-two on the edge of the box.
Hal Robson-Kanu should have netted the rebound, but the score remained 1-0.
And that was enough.
Now on 14 points, three clear of Belgium, Wales have a real chance of qualifying for the tournament.
The top two teams qualify but the chances of two of the sides below Wales finishing above them now is pretty slim.
They just have to finish the job.
The win comes with an added bonus as Wales will now be first seeds for the World Cup qualification group draw.
Aaron Ramsey looks likely to lead Wales to their first tournament in 58 years, and will have a great chance of following it up with just their second World Cup – and their first appearance since Pelé was a teenager.
Anyway, one step at a time.