21 Jun 2016

Wales top group, England also advance

9:49 am on 21 June 2016

Wales beat Russia 3-0, scoring twice in the opening 20 minutes, to top Group B and move into the round of 16 at football's Euro 2016 in France.

Gareth Bale scores for Wales.

Gareth Bale scores for Wales. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Aaron Ramsey dinked the ball over Igor Akinfeev to finish off a counter-attack in the 11th minute and Neil Taylor added a second, also from a counter-attack nine minutes later as Wales took early control.

Russia had no answer to the fast, incisive Welsh breaks and survived several more chances before Gareth Bale scored his third goal of the tournament to become Euro 2016's top marksman, flicking the third past Akinfeev in the 67th minute.

Chris Coleman's team will now play one of the third-placed sides in Paris on Sunday with every hope of reaching the last eight, as they did in 1976.

It was a glorious night for Welsh football in what had been described as the country's biggest game since the 1958 World Cup quarter-final.

Their players and supporters celebrated wildly while Russian fans, who had caused trouble at the end of their first match against England, slunk away.

Russia now go home with much to think about before hosting the World Cup in two years time.

Wales topped the group with six points, one ahead of England, who finished second after a 0-0 draw with Slovakia.

England qualify for the knockout phase behind Wales.

England finish with five points, one ahead of Slovakia who should also reach the last 16 as one of the best third-placed teams.

England, who made six changes from the side that started their 2-1 win over Wales, dominated the first half and Jamie Vardy missed a good chance to put them ahead.

England continued to enjoy the lion's share of possession after half-time but there were few clear opportunities.