Sam Vokes
Vokes' header sent Wales into their first major semi-final against Portugal Getty Images

The scarlet sea amassed in Lille last Friday (July 1) to witness the most incredible feat in the history of Welsh football and, in my opinion, the greatest result in Welsh team sport in my lifetime. I have lost count of how many times since Sam Vokes' exquisite header beat Thibaut Courtois' outstretched hand that I have I publicly smiled and shaken my head at the same time to the bemusement of onlookers.

L'Equipe summed it up appropriately the following morning with their 'Quel Folie' headline. The whole journey that the Welsh team and fans have been on since 11 June has been insane. Victory over Belgium was the most complete performance by a Welsh team ever in what was billed as the nation's most important game for 58 years. The reward for defying the odds and our expectations is a continuation of this unexpected journey to Lyon where Portugal await.

On my short 48-hour return to the UK, I had to do a Dean Saunders and remove my car from a Gatwick long stay car park amongst other things – where the London airport had decided against waiving my charge for overstaying. The brief return gave Welsh fans the opportunity to gauge reaction and British commentary on the game. Such coverage is obviously not available in France.

The backdrop of the Flanders-influenced architecture of Lille and the stunning buildings within the Place du Théâtre, the Place du Général-de- Gaulle and Vieux Lille was where fans of both teams intermingled. It was the most relaxed atmosphere I have ever experienced during the tournament. With the 150,000 or so estimated Red Devils crossing the border into northern France to join the festivities it was, in all but name, a home game for the Belgians.

What added to the pre-match atmosphere was the exchange between the fans and to hear choruses of "don't take me home" sung by our opponents before, during and after the match was wonderful. A genuine respect was apparent between the fans. It was also great to have a photo and quick chat with Talupe Faletau and Hallam Amos, the Wales rugby union pair, who both seemed genuinely excited to be part of the occasion after hot-footing it from their New Zealand tour.

Wales fans
Welsh fans were in the minority in Lille but they were the ones celebrating a semi-final place Getty Images

In the Stade Pierre Malloy, I will never forget the scenes in the latter stages of the match and the immediate aftermath. On my left, there was a Belgian mother and her two young sons who sat in front of us flanked by their father. My friend, Ian, sat to my immediate right. One of the boys wore a Radj Naingollan wig in the Belgian flag colours. When the aforementioned player scored, all seemed well with the boys.

However, as the goals against column increased for Marc Willmot's men, those boys became inconsolable; this was not helped by two Welsh men sitting right behind them in a state of uncontrollable excitement and disbelief at what was happening. As the final whistle was blown, the mother and father picked up their sons and made them shake our hands.

If I experienced a defeat of that nature at their age I would have been similarly distraught. The fact is, such events are consigned to history for the time being. I am so grateful that we have endured disappointments over the past decades watching Wales. It thus makes more appreciative, what we have endured so far - pure footballing insanity. Long may we continue shaking our heads!