Euro 2016: Wales Top Group B After Russia Rout, Slovakia Hold England
Gareth Bale was the star as Wales stormed into the last 16 of Euro 2016 as winners of Group B with a 3-0 drubbing of Russia Monday night.
First-half strikes by Aaron Ramsey and Neil Taylor sent Chris Coleman’s men well on their way to an emphatic win in Toulouse against an out-of-sorts Russian side.
But Real Madrid star Bale was a constant threat all night and grabbed his third goal of the tournament in as many games when he cleverly dinked the ball past Igor Akinfeev with the outside of his right boot midway through the second half after being played through by the enterprising Ramsey.
He became the latest player to score in all three group games at a European Championship since Milan Baros for the Czech Republic and Ruud van Nistelrooy for the Netherlands, both in 2004.
The win coupled with a 0-0 draw between England and Slovakia in Saint-Etienne allowed Wales to top the group and set up a last-16 tie in Paris this weekend.
Meanwhile England secured their place in the last 16 of Euro 2016 but had to settle for group runners-up spot after being held to a goalless draw by Slovakia on Monday.
England manager Roy Hodgson made six changes to the team, starting strikers Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge, who both scored off the bench in the 2-1 win over Wales.
But the gamble didn’t pay off with Slovakia goalkeeper Matus Kozacik pulling off a string of impressive saves to keep the Three Lions at bay.