2016 European Championship, Group Stage 2016
  • Aaron Ramsey (11')
  • Neil Taylor (20')
  • Gareth Bale (67')

Gareth Bale and Wales control Russia to finish top of Group B

Gareth Bale's third goal at Euro 2016 helped Wales cruise into the knockout stage as Group B winners with a dominant 3-0 win over Russia on Monday.

Aaron Ramsey scored early and Neil Taylor added his first international goal before Bale's second-half effort as Wales finished top of the group after runners-up England failed to beat Slovakia in a 0-0 draw.

Wales pressured Russia from the start, as Igor Akinfeev saved Gareth Bale's shot from 18 yards and Sam Vokes' follow-up was offside.

But they didn't have to wait long for the breakthrough after James Chester picked off a Russia pass at midfield. The ball fell to Joe Allen, who played in Aaron Ramsey and the Arsenal man chipped the ball over Akinfeev to give Wales the lead in the 11th minute.

Wales doubled their advantage nine minutes later when Bale drew defenders on the counter-attack, and when Roman Shirokov took the ball off his foot it worked as a perfect through ball to Neil Taylor, who saw his first shot saved but made no mistake with the follow-up.

Taylor had not scored any goal since April 2010, when he was with Wrexham in England's fifth-tier Conference National.

Russia's best chance in the first half came after Ashley Williams could only touch Akinfeev's long punt back toward his own goal, and Artem Dzyuba got a touch to it before Wayne Hennessey made the save.

Wales were soon in on goal again, though Akinfeev stopped Vokes with a kick save.

With Russia needing to win and playing a very high line, their keeper was kept busy until the whistle, first stopping Ramsey's hard shot from distance, and later another from Bale.

Ramsey had a chance to make it 3-0 just before the break but took one too many touches in the box.

The second half began as the first ended with Bale firing in another shot from an angle, though Akinfeev got down to make one of his eight saves on the night.

Ramsey played in Bale on the wing in the 55th minute, but again Akinfeev got a small piece of the ball to stop the Real Madrid man from scoring.

But in the 68th minute Bale finally did score his third at the Euros, the most of any player in the tournament, when Ramsey again played him through to score with the outside of his boot.

As Wales saw out the game, boss Chris Coleman gave tournament debuts to Andy King and Simon Church, with Bale coming out to applause in the 83rd minute.

Artem Dzyuba redirected a cross over the bar from point-blank range in the 85th minute, but for the most part Russia offered little in response over the final 20 minutes and finished bottom of Group B, finishing the tournament with just the single point earned from their opening game with England.

Wales will next play in the round-of-16 on Saturday in Paris against either Albania or one of the third-placed teams in Group C or D.