In their first-ever appearance at a European Championship, Wales have finished atop Group B thanks to a convincing 3-0 win over Russia.
The Welsh will now play a third-place side in the knockout round, while Russia are eliminated from the competition.
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Chris Coleman’s side got off to a dream start, jumping out to a two-goal lead within the opening 20 minutes. Aaron Ramsey grabbed the first goal in the 11th minute, taking a through ball in from Joe Allen before hitting a clever little chip over the keeper.
Wales’ second tally came from an unlikely man in left-back Neil Taylor, who found himself wide open in front of goal after a Welsh counter-attack caught the Russians out of position. Taylor’s initial shot was stopped, but he had plenty of time to gather his own rebound and smash home the first goal of his international career. It was the Swansea man’s first goal since 2010, when he was playing non-league football with Wrexham.
Russia were extremely poor and continued to be exposed after the break, with Gareth Bale making it 3-0 to Wales in the 67th minute. Ramsey did well to dribble his way through a crowd, drawing three defenders before laying off to Bale. Bale was cool with his finish to grab his third goal of the tournament, sending Wales through to the knockout round.
Bale is now only the seventh player in history to score in all three group stage matches at a European Championship. He is the first player to do so since 2004, when Ruud van Nistelrooy and Milan Baros accomplished the feat for the Netherlands and Czech Republic, respectively.