Talisman Gareth Bale has warned Belgium that Wales have evolved into an even better team than the one that beat the feted Red Devils during qualifying for Euro 2016.
The teams meet in Friday’s quarter-final in Lille, a rematch of last June’s fixture at Cardiff City Stadium, in which Bale’s 25th-minute goal sank Belgium and helped Wales on their way to France.
Chris Coleman’s men have exceeded expectations at their first major tournament for more than half a century and Bale, who has scored three goals, is in bullish mood.
“To know we can beat the big teams, it does give you that extra bit of confidence and it does take you to the next level,” said the £85m Real Madrid star.
“From that night, from beating Belgium, we have gone up to another level. We’ve taken our game on with playing more games in our system, gelling even more. It was a changing moment for us.”
Belgium shrugged off a slow start and showed signs of justifying their billing as potential winners with a 4-0 win over Hungary on Sunday, yet Bale believes that renewed confidence could count against them.
“Belgium see every team they play as a stepping stone to the final," he added. “That’s not disrespectful, that’s their opinion, and we’re happy about that. We’ve beaten them before so it can be done again.”