Wales cruise to top with memorable 3-0 drubbing of Russia

Wales reached the top of Euro 2016 Group B with 3-0 drubbing of Russia in one of the best performances of their modest footballing history

Goals from Aaron Ramsey, Neil Taylor and tournament top scorer Gareth Bale reflected Wales' domination and took advantage of some shoddy defending from the Russians.

Wales finished top with six points. England - who were held 0-0 by defiant Slovakia in St Etienne - finished second with five points, while Slovakia finished third with four.

Dismal Russia - who needed to win to reach the round of 16 - finished bottom with just one point.

"We knew everything was on this game. It was in our own hands. We said before the game 'let's have no regrets.' It's probably the best performance I've been involved in with Wales," Bale said.

Meanwhile, Ramsey said: "It was a fantastic feeling to score in this competition ... We've been waiting a long time to be here. 

"We wanted to stand up and be recognised. Against England the occasion maybe got to us in possession. Tonight we wanted to work on that and we passed it brilliantly and could have scored more. We've topped the group which nobody probably saw coming."

He referred to fans singing outside the stadium, saying, "hopefully we've made the fans proud."

Wales made a bright start and took a deserved lead in the 11th minute when Ramsey broke the deadlock with a cool chipped finish after being played through exquisitely by Joe Allen.

Nine minutes later, Taylor delighted the massed ranks of Welsh fans by turning in the rebound after overworked Russian keeper Igor Akinfeev parried away his first shot.

Wales only enjoyed 43 per cent possession but every time they attacked they seemed capable of penetrating a dreadful Russian defence.

Therefore, it was little surprise when the impressive Bale made it 3-0 in the 67th minute with a cool finish after being set up by the excellent Ramsey. It was the Real Madrid man's third goal in France, making him the tournament top scorer.

From then onwards, both teams were keen to hear the final whistle - Wales so they could celebrate their greatest moment since the 1958 World Cup, and Russia in order to end their torment.

Straight afterwards, Russia's coach Slutski resigned, saying: "You need someone else after a tournament like this."

Slutski, 45, has been in the job for a year, since taking over from Italian veteran Fabio Capello in 2015.

Russia are to host the 2018 World Cup, and will need to improve quickly in all areas in order to avoid a poor performance in front of their own fans.

Wales coach Chris Coleman said: "In possession, we did everything tonight. I'm delighted for the players. I said before that there's more to come for this group. 

"Even after this tournament is over, this group are on the way to something else. I'm just glad me and the staff are here with them. We have no fear. And after playing like that, why should we have?"

Last update: Tue, 21/06/2016 - 10:30
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