Wales survived a dreadful 90 minutes of soccer at the Parc des Princes to advance to their first quarterfinal round at a major competition since 1958.
Chris Coleman’s men benefited from a Gareth McAuley own goal in the 75th minute to beat regional rival Northern Ireland, 1-0, in the Round of 16.
The first half of action in Paris saw very little in terms of exciting action. The most notable moment from the opening stanza came in the 19th minute, when Aaron Ramsey was ruled offside before he put the ball into the back of the net.
The quality of play didn’t increase much in the second stanza as neither side displayed the attacking prowess worthy of advancing to the final eight.
Gareth Bale, who scored in each of Wales’ three group matches, tried to extend his scoring streak in the 58th minute on a free kick, but he was denied by a leaping Michael McGovern.
Bale was at the center of the attacking buildup again in the 75th minute as he sent a dangerous cross into the box from the left wing. The pass was intended for Hal Robson-Kanu, but McAuley slid in to try and clear the ball. Instead, the West Bromwich Albion center back put Wales ahead with an own goal.
Despite moving on in the competition, Wales received a bit of bad news late in the second half as Ashley Williams held his left arm after a collision with a teammate. The status of the center back for the next round may be in question if the injury is serious.
Wales will face either Hungary or Belgium in the second quarterfinal contest of Euro 2016 on July 1.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Welsh center back James Chester turned in a terrific shift at the back as he limited Northern Ireland’s chances in a game where one attempt on target could’ve made the difference.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
The own goal by McAuley will go down as the defining moment of the round-of-16 showdown that produced little else in terms of talking points.
MATCH TO FORGET
Gareth McAuley‘s own goal sent Northern Ireland out of the tournament. If his clearance went elsewhere, he and his teammates may have a had chance to sneak out a win in either extra time or penalties.