Gareth Bale sought to put a positive spin on things after Wales fell to a 2-1 stoppage-time loss against England on Thursday.
Having kicked off their Euro 2016 campaign with a win over Slovakia in which the Real Madrid star scored, Chris Coleman’s side would have qualified from Group B by beating a side Bale had described as “the enemy” in the build-up.
Bale’s long-range free-kick made that a very real possibility as the underdogs led at the break in Lens, but two England substitutes – first Jamie Vardy and then, right at the end, Daniel Sturridge – secured the three points for Roy Hodgson’s men.
“Obviously it is massively disappointing, but I’m very proud of everybody,” said Bale, who had been quick to talk up the two nations’ rivalry ahead of the match.
“We gave everything, like we always do, and I have said before if we go out but have given 100 per cent then we can’t do any more.
“We are disappointed at the moment, but we are strong inside and the tournament is not over yet. We will go into the next game [against Russia] with even more strength.
“We keep fighting all the way. We will keep fighting to qualify. We knew if it wasn’t a great result we were still in the thick of things.”
Wales’ fate now rests on the final group match against the Russians in Toulouse on Monday, while England take on Slovakia in Saint-Etienne.
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