In this dull round of sixteen encounter, it was Wales who ran out 1-0 winners. It was a game that never really sparked and it did not live up to the hype it received prior to kick-off.
An own-goal from Gareth McAuley was enough to see Chris Coleman’s side go through to the quarter-finals of the European Championships. They now face a game against either Belgium or Hungary on Friday night in Lille. However, this now means Northern Ireland will go home and although it may have been a great tournament for them they will ultimately be disappointed with how it came to an end.
The first real chance of the match fell to Northern Ireland. It came after a smart and swift counter-attack from Micheal O’Neill’s side. The ball fell to Dallas on the edge of the box and Hennessey made the save from the first time strike.
Nine minutes later, the ball was in the net for Wales. Aaron Ramsey turned Vokes’ header in but the assistant correctly flagged it for offside.
In the 23rd minute, there was another chance for Northern Ireland as Jamie Ward unleashed a shot from 25 yards out but Wayne Hennessey was able to tip it over the crossbar.
8 minutes after the interval, Vokes had a glorious opportunity to put Wales ahead after a superb cross from Ramsey found the striker, but Vokes was only able to put the header wide.
In the 58th minute, Bale had his first real involvement in the game. It was a free kick from deep inside the Northern Ireland half. Bale got it over the wall but McGovern was able to dive across his goal and palm it away.
The 75th minute marked the moment for many Wales fans to savour and Gareth McAuley to forget as he put the ball into his own net. It came from a great cross into the box from the unusually quiet Bale. McAuley tried to divert from the ball from the goal and the oncoming Robson-Kanu but he was only able to put his sliding interception into the Northern Ireland net.
After the goal Wales sat back and invited the pressure from Northern Ireland but they were unable to get the goal that would have took the game to extra time and they therefore fell out of the competition.
The result gives Wales a realistic chance of getting to the semi-finals of this competition and will have to get past either Hungary or Belgium to get there. However, Wales will have to massively improve if they wish to get past them as Northern Ireland were the better side and will be very disappointed that it is not them going through to the quarter-finals.
Wales: Hennessey; Gunter, Davies, Williams, Chester, Taylor; Ledley, Allen, Ramsey; Bale, Vokes
Northern Ireland: McGovern; J.Evans, Cathcart, McAuley, Hughes; Dallas, Davis, Norwood, C.Evans, Ward; Lafferty