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Club News

Euro Diary: Sam Vokes

6 July 2016

We went to Paris the day before the Northern Ireland game which is only about 40 minutes from our training base in Dinard.

We stayed over and it was an earlier kick-off so it was quite hot but to play at PSG’s ground was great and it was built up as a British derby like the England game.

It was one of our toughest games at the tournament because they were tough to break down as people probably saw back home.

It was good to get the nod to start and to get a win albeit with a scrappy goal. That’s all you need to progress in tournament.

Joe Ledley’s dancing seems to have gone viral after games and I wouldn’t like to make a comment or compare it to my standard of dancing, but he’s a good mate and hopefully we can see more of it!

We stayed in Paris overnight afterwards and that was good because you get a day off to see your family so we had a wander around before returning to camp.

It’s a long trip when you put it together with our training camp beforehand so it is nice to see them, chilling out and switching off from football to have a bit of a tourist day if you like.

The Quarter Final night was absolutely amazing. I’ve said before in this feature that Russia was the best night in Wales’ history but that topped it.

It was incredible to be a part of and the build-up was pretty similar to the other games. We travelled down to Lille the night before so it was a long wait until an 8pm kick-off.

We were watching clips and analysing how Belgium operate throughout the day in the build-up in the hotel.

On the night, we didn’t get off to a great start with a fantastic strike from Nainggolan but the spirit of the boys and the way we reacted showed what we’re about.

Obviously I was on the bench at the time, but watching on we didn’t show any fear and to come back to a winning position with that goal from Hal Robson-Kanu was brilliant.

When you’re waiting for the chance to get on, you want to make your mark in what was a tight game so for myself to come on and get on the end of Gunts’ (Chris Gunter) cross was a dream come true.

That took the pressure off for the last five or ten minutes and thankfully we saw it through.

At full-time because of all the build-up at everything that is riding on it, there was an overriding feeling of emotion that’s hard to explain.

The boys were buzzing and it felt a bit like an away game with Lille being so close to Belgium so celebrating with our small pocket of fans was great.

It’s been such a relaxed feel to the camp throughout as it is every time we meet up to be honest. That shows in our performances with the results we’re getting.

That’s not changed from the first game until the semi-finals so we’re raring to go for tonight.

It’s a massive fixture because they’re a quality side with great individuals like Ronaldo and Nani.

We’ve faced tough opposition so far though in Belgium, Northern Ireland and in our group so we’re ready and raring to go.

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