Bale miniature proves a lucky omen for Wales fan
A Wales fan has hailed an "unbelievable omen" after buying a mystery Euro 2016 figurine which turned out to be star man Gareth Bale.
Jack Cooper, of Risca, Newport, picked up the lucky dip miniature on the way to watch his side take on Russia in Toulouse, where they landed a 3-0 win.
Bale became only the seventh player to score in all three group games at a European Championship as Wales topped Group B.
Mr Cooper, 28, walked into a newsagent's in Toulouse to buy chewing gum when he picked up the figurine "on a whim".
He said: "My wonderful, long-suffering girlfriend rolled her eyes. She knows what I'm like for getting addicted to collecting stuff that's not for men my age."
Describing the moment he realised it was Bale, he said: "I was so excited I flung my arms out in celebration and almost hit an older woman in the street... luckily, she was Welsh so she understood.
"Despite usually being a pretty rational guy, it really did feel like the stars were aligning when that Bale figure came out of the mystery packet."
Mr Cooper nearly didn't make it to the game - after being admitted to hospital "screaming in agony" with adbominal pain on Friday.
But after being told his situation was not life-threatening - and being dosed up with painkillers - he travelled to Toulouse for the weekend to take in the match.
He added: "There's really no reason we can't win (the tournament), we're such a solid unit and it's a more believable scenario than Leicester's miracle was this year.
"Germany and Spain would be tough to overcome, but no matter how it ends the boys have done us proud."