Gareth Bale of Wales, EURO 2016.jpg
Photograph: EPA/RUNGROJ YONGRIT

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?"

Latest news

Bayern round the clock - German champions launch own TV channel

Bayern Munich fans will be able to follow goings on at the Bundesliga record champions in a new way from next week when the club launches its own television channel.

'Weather bomb' hits transport, cuts power to 56,000 homes in Ireland

Storm Doris brought winds of up to 120 kilometres per hour to large areas of Ireland and Britain on Thursday, disrupting transport links and causing power cuts to tens of thousands of homes.

Croatia's registered unemployment rate rises to 15.4% in January

The registered unemployment rate in Croatia rose from 14.8% in December 2016 to 15.4% in January 2017, increasing for the fourth month in a row, the National Bureau of Statistics (DZS) said Thursday.

Norway's telecom group Telenor to leave Indian market

Norwegian telecommunications group Telenor said Thursday it was leaving the Indian telecom market and transferring its businesses there to Bharti Airtel.

Iraq claims advance in retaking Mosul airport from Islamic State

Iraqi forces wrested back half of Mosul's airport from Islamic State Thursday, shortly after entering the facility during their ongoing campaign to drive the extremist militia from its last key stronghold in the country.

Rights group: Video shows Cambodian police beating election candidate

A video posted on YouTube shows eight Cambodian paramilitary police beating a man identified as an opposition candidate at a Phnom Penh shopping mall, a rights group said Thursday. 

Malaysia asks Interpol to issue alert for suspects in N Korean death

Malaysia on Thursday requested that Interpol issue an alert for four North Koreans suspected of involvement in last week's killing of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

British suspect arrested in Deutsche Telekom hacking

A 29-year-old British citizen suspected of involvement in a cyberattack that left nearly 1 million Deutsche Telekom customers without services last year has been arrested, German federal police said on Thursday.

Eight killed as bomb targets restaurant in Pakistan’s Lahore

A bomb ripped through a high-end restaurant in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Thursday, killing eight people, officials said, marking another attack amid a surge in violence by Islamist militants that has ended months of fragile calm.

Philippine court orders arrest of top Duterte critic

Senator Leila De Lima, one of the most outspoken critics of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, was on Thursday ordered arrested on illegal drug charges by a Philippine court.

Hrvatski Telekom reports 2016 net profit of HRK 934 mn

Hrvatski Telekom (HT) generated a net profit of HRK 934 million in 2016, which is 1% more than in 2015, the telecommunications company said on Thursday in a report on its financial results in 2016.

FDI in Croatia totals EUR 1.2 bn in Jan-Sept 2016

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Croatia totalled EUR 1.227 billion in the first nine months of 2016, which is 552 million or 82% more than in the same period in 2015, analysts at Raiffeisenbank Austria (RBA) said in a report on Thursday, citing data provided by the Croatian National Bank.