Wales advanced to the European Championship’s knockout stages as group winner after comprehensively beating Russia 3-0 in Toulouse, France, on Monday.
Goals from Aaron Ramsey, Neil Taylor and Gareth Bale, his third in consecutive games at Euro 2016, ensured that Wales won Group B ahead of England, which could only draw 0-0 with Slovakia.
Ramsey opened the scoring in the 11th minute after a quick counterattack, chipping the ball over the advancing goalkeeper. Taylor doubled the advantage nine minutes later after slotting in a rebound, his first international goal. Bale then made it 3-0 in the 67th minute with an audacious shot that makes him the tournament’s leading scorer.
“It’s probably the best performance I’ve been involved in with Wales,” Bale said. “To top the group, what more can you ask? We said we didn’t want to make the numbers up. Well, we can’t do any more than win the group.”
For Russia, defeat meant its time at Euro 2016 is over and coach Leonid Slutsky gave a major hint that he won’t be the man in charge for much longer. The team, which only earned one point in a disappointing campaign, will now focus on the World Cup, which it is hosting in two years.
“I think after a type of tournament like this, you need someone else to take charge of the national side for major competitions,” Slutsky said after the match.
England 0, Slovakia 0: England qualified for the round of 16 at the European Championship after being held to a 0-0 draw by Slovakia at Saint-Etienne, France, on a frustrating night for Roy Hodgson’s team.
The result meant England was leapfrogged by Wales at the top of the Group B.
England created but failed to take a series of chances against a very defensive Slovakia side that can still reach the knockout stages as one of the four best third-place teams. Slovakia has four points, with England on five and Wales with six.
“It was disappointing for us tonight. In the three games, we have had the majority of the possession and today we have dominated play from start to finish and we couldn’t unlock the door,” England defender Gary Cahill said.
England needed a win to be sure of topping its group and avoiding a potentially dangerous opponent in the last 16. Instead, it will meet Group F’s runner-up, with a game against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal now a possibility.