JUST weeks ago they were minnows, starting a brave footballing adventure the likes of which their country had not seen for more than 50 years.

Any suggestion of Wales reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2016 would almost certainly have been met with guffaws of laughter.

But tonight, fueled by their 'together stronger' catchphrase and with the hopes of a nation resting on their shoulders, they will be just 90 minutes away from what many believe to be a perfectly achievable victory over Portugal.

In homes and pubs across south Cumbria, people will be cheering.

Steve Thomas has lived in Barrow since 2008 and is originally from Aberdare, near Cardiff.

He said: "I am shocked and delighted with the results and never thought this would happen.

"At first I watched the games at home because I thought the atmosphere was quite weird, but I've had an awful lot of people who hear my accent and tell me how great it is and tell me how they want us to do well.

"I have a little boy, Ollie, who is five years old and he got a few funny looks when he first wore his Wales strip, but now I have friends who want to buy them because I think it's captured people's imagination."

Mr Thomas who works at Vodafone in Barrow has always been a football fan and hopes to travel to France if Wales succeed against Portugal.

"I think we play like a team and not as individuals.

"Bale has got a nation behind him and between him and Ronaldo, he has definitely played the better tournament."

Mr Thomas predicts Wales will beat Portugal 2-1 in Wednesday's showdown.

Another dragon living in the area is Rob Treeby who runs TouristInfo, Hawkshead.

He thinks the performance has been fantastic for Welsh football and will be putting on his shirt with pride on Wednesday.

"The result has been fantastic.

"It's the first time in a long time we have been there, we were only hoping to qualify but I think it's down to what Gary Speed started and what Chris Coleman can do.

"We have some great players and we will be talking about this for a long time to come."

Mr Treeby is more of a rugby fan but is over-the-moon with the squad's performance and will be watching how they get on at the Sun Inn, Hawkshead.

"Everyone is very supportive.

"I think the result will be 2-1 as Portugal might get a goal, as we've lost two players due to cards.

"It's going to be a tough game but I'm sure we can give it a bit of Welsh magic."

Coverage of the match starts on ITV at 7.15pm.