Wales’ mental strength and team spirit was hailed by coach Chris Coleman after Hal Robson-Kanu’s late goal earned a 2-1 win against Slovakia in their first game at a European Championship finals.
Gareth Bale’s swerving free-kick put Coleman’s men into an early lead, but Ondrej Duda came off the bench to equalise on the hour-mark.
But another substitute had the decisive impact as Robson-Kanu struck an untidy finish from close range to get his side off to a winning start at Euro 2016.
Coleman accepted that star names such as Bale and Aaron Ramsey will grab the headlines, but hailed the impact of his squad’s strong character.
“Our boys showed incredible passion and a lot of courage to come back – incredible attitude and mentality,” Coleman told BBC Sport.
“I just thought it was a great game of football – it had everything. It had goals, it was quite physical, some good football, and the atmosphere was electric, so it was an incredible afternoon.
“When you’ve got one of the best players in the world playing for you, people are going to want to talk about him – he deserves that and we don’t mind that.
“And when you’ve got an Aaron Ramsey playing for you – in the Premier League, I don’t know any better midfield players than Aaron Ramsey, he’s a great player. We’ve got players like that.”
Coleman added that Bale and Ramsey “appreciate” the hard work that their colleagues do during games to allow them to make critical impacts in the final third.
“We can’t stop people wanting to talk about them, and they deserve that, but Aaron and [Bale] appreciate what’s around them. One doesn’t come without the other,” Coleman said.
“We can’t do what we do without them, we know that, but, the rest of the guys around them, it doesn’t happen without them either. It’s very much a team thing. We win together and we lose together.”
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