Wales vs Northern Ireland - Tactical Report

What was supposed to be a fiery and passionate encounter between two teams punching well above their weight, the game lacked spark and the first 45 minutes were scrappy at the most.

Wales beat Northern Ireland 1-0 in a British derby to enter the quarterfinals of EURO 2016 after Gareth McAuley deflected Gareth Bale's cross into his own net.

Chris Coleman went with his preferred 3-5-1-1 formation with Sam Vokes leading the line and Gareth Bale given the licence to roam freely behind him. Michael O'Neill brought Kyle Lafferty back to start up top behind a five-man midfield.

What was supposed to be a fiery and passionate encounter between two teams punching well above their weight, the game lacked spark and the first 45 minutes were scrappy at the most. Bale was shut out by the sheer numbers in the Northern Ireland midfield and it was the men in green who looked the more enterprising, with wingers Stuart Dallas and Jamie Ward at the heart of their best moves.

Bale started drifting out to the flanks in the second-half which allowed Aaron Ramsey more space in the centre and this helped the Welsh settle down and start attacking. Jonny Williams and Hal Robson-Kanu's introduction energised Wales as it forced Northern Ireland to defend deep.

The goal came when Bale sent a low ball into the box from the left flank and Gareth McAuley, in his effort to prevent the onrushing Robson-Kanu from getting on the end of it, ended up diverting it into his own net (see picture).