Wales vs Northern Ireland Euro 2016: WAL Enter Quarter-Finals With 1-0 Win
Wales rode on Gareth McAuley's own goal to beat Northern Ireland 1-0 and enter their maiden euro quarter-finals. Catch highlights of Wales vs Northern Ireland here
Wales reached the quarter-finals of the Euro 2016 for the first time in their history on Saturday as Gareth McAuley's own goal handed the Welsh a 1-0 victory over Northern Ireland. Catch highilights of Wales vs Northern Ireland here. (SCORECARD | STATS | NEWS)
McAuley diverted the ball into his own net from Real Madrid striker Gareth Bale's pacy cross in the 75th minute of an all-British clash that was short of goalscoring opportunities.
23:20 hrs IST: That's it. Wales are in quarter-finals with a 1-0 win!!
23: 14 hrs IST: Gareth Bale has been involved in 13 of Wales' last 18 goals, scoring ten and assisting three.
23:11 hrs IST: For a moment it looks as if Ashley Williams will have to be withdrawn; since that collision with Jonny Williams the defender has been holding his arm, and now he sits down on the pitch grimacing. Chris Coleman is about to send on James Collins when Williams gets up and decides to somehow battle through the obvious pain.
23: 07 hrs IST: Ashley Williams and Jonny Williams accidentally collide at top speed as the Wales skipper clears out a dangerous ball, and the doctors are onto the pitch straight away to administer treatment to the shaken namesakes.
23:03 hrs IST: GOAL!!!!! Aaron Ramsey passes out to Gareth Bale on the left, and the forward whips an awesome low cross into the danger area. GARETH MCAULEY, forced to intervene to stop it from reaching Hal Robson-Kanu, is distraught to see his stretching interception trickle into his own net.
22:58 hrs IST: Michael O'Neill finally decides to make a change, replacing Ward with Conor Washington, who will play up front alongside his fellow striker Kyle Lafferty.
22:56 hrs IST: Whenever Gareth Bale gets the ball, a swarm of Irish players suddenly appear out of nowhere and more often than not hustle him off it.
22:53 hrs IST:As they did in the first half, Wales are progressively establishing greater control on proceedings through the composed passing of Allen and Ramsey.
22:50 hrs IST: Gareth Bale skips around Norwood and goes to ground at a slight touch, the ref instantly signalling a free kick 20 yards out. Bale naturally takes it himself, fizzing his effort over the wall and drawing a top save from Michael McGovern. Norhern Ireland try to break, but Jamie Ward is hacked down by Neil Taylor, who is promptly cautioned.
22:47 hrs IST: Oliver Norwood intercepts a poor sideways pass by Joe Allen and goes for goal from a long way out; the shot bounces threateningly towards the near post, but Wayne Hennessey is able to dive to his right and hold it.
22:44 hrs IST: What a save!! NIR's Michael McGovern fists Bale's powerful free-kick away.
22: 43 hrs IST: Bale is fouled by Norwood, and Wales gets a free-kick from top of the box
22:40 hrs IST: Hal Robson-Kanu comes in for Vokes. Can he provide the golden touch?
22:39 hrs IST: Ramsey's long ball is headed wide by Vokes. Another miss for Wales.
22:36 hrs IST: Northern Ireland's pass completion rate is 79 per cent in this match till now.
22:35 hrs IST: Steven Davis tries to single-handedly dodge past the whole Wales defence. but can't go far.
22:33 hrs IST: Northern Ireland has not conceded more than one goal in the last 13 games - Interesting stat there!!
22:31 hrs IST: We're back for the second half!!
22:22 hrs IST: Despite starting on a strong footing, Wales have lost the touch towards the end of the first half. Northern Ireland have improved though
22: 16 hrs IST: Half-time! It's goalless still
22:14 hrs IST: NIR's Stuart Dallas gets a yellow card, will miss next match
22:12 hrs IST: This time it's Ben Davies who jumps to reach the ball before Craig Cathcart can convert Norwood's free kick at the back post.
22:10 hrs IST: Aaron Hughes lofts a great cross all the way to the back stick, where Gunter does magnificently to leap and flick a header away from the marauding Stuart Dallas.
22: 07 hrs IST: The Welsh have 62 per cent ball possession in the opening half-hour of the match, but the opening goal is yet to be scored.
22:00 hrs IST:A clumsy swipe by Joe Allen gifts Northern Ireland a free kick over by the left touchline. Oliver Norwood fires the set-piece into the box, where it's cut out by Joe Ledley before reaching anybody in white.
21:58 hrs IST: Allen plays a short pass to Bale on his left, and Wales' star man shifts the ball from his right foot to his left before dragging something of a mishit several yards wide of the target.
21: 56 hrs IST: K. Lafferty (NIR) misses a chance. Jonny Evans shoots a long ball from left but Lafferty header goes over the bar
21:53 hrs IST: Jamie Ward spots a gap 20 yards from goal and tries to curl a lovely effort just under the crossbar, only for Hennessey to pull off a super save
21:49 hrs IST: Off-side!! Vokes' cross is collected well by Ramsey as he pokes in from close range, but the Arsenal man is clearly in an offside position.
21:47 hrs IST: Free-kick for Wales after a foul by NIR's Stuart Dallas.
21:45 hrs IST: Bale works a yard of space on the right wing and sends a cross towards Aaron Ramsey, who tries to flick the ball goalwards, with a backheel but can only connect with fresh air.
21:42 hrs IST: Wales seems to be slowly gathering steam. More and more they are increasing men in the attacking third, with the fulcrum being Bale.
21:39 hrs IST: Bale runs down the right flank but his attack in thwarted.
21:36 hrs IST: Kyle Lafferty plays a free kick short and then sprint to the back post to head the resulting cross back into the penalty area, but the striker is pulled up for fouling Chris Gunter in the air.
21:33 hrs IST: Many predicted a cagey start to this game, but in fact there are already open spaces all over the pitch, with both sides willing to commit men forward
21:31 hrs IST: Wales would hope Gareth Bale to fire against a gritty Northern Ireland.
21:30 hrs IST: Welcome all!
No longer a football sideshow, Wales and Northern Ireland will take centrestage in Paris on Saturday. There will even be an England referee in an all-UK affair.
All eyes will be on Real Madrid striker Bale. He is joint-top scorer at Euro 2016 with three goals after helping Wales to top spot in their group, but will likely come up against a stubborn Irish backline, who have let in seven goals in their last 13 fixtures.
Bale, who has scored a goal in each game so far to help Wales top their group ahead of England, was expected to shine on the pitches of France.
It is a different story for Michael McGovern, whose heroics in the Northern Ireland goal have earned him a comparison to the great Pat Jennings by coach Martin O'Neill.
While Bale, 26, features prominently in the star-studded Real Madrid outfit, the 31-year-old McGovern is a free agent whose contract with struggling Scottish side Hamilton Academical has just expired.
Catch live scores of WAL vs NIR here.