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Dublin: -1 °C Sunday 18 March, 2018


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We’re almost underway here. Who’s the money on? Will McGovern deliver another masterclass in goal?


It will be interesting to see how Northern Ireland cope with Bale. They certainly can’t man-mark him.


Free kick here for the North as Ashley Williams commits the foul. Decent chance for them from set-pieces.


There’s a massive din inside the Parc des Princes. Incredible atmosphere and credit to both sets of supporters.


Bale pops up and tries to combine with Joe Allen. It ends with a wayward shot from the Real Madrid man and Northern Ireland will be pleased with that.


Certainly a lull now. Bale has been nullified and O’Neill can be well happy with this.


That’s better from the North. They work the right side well and keep some solid possession. But Wales have had 61% of the ball so far even though they haven’t created much except for Ramsey’s offside goal.


Good point here. Wales finding it strange to be the ‘attacking’ team. O’Neill has called their bluff a bit.


Arsene Wenger is an interested spectator at the Parc des Princes. I wonder if he fancies taking Michael McGovern to North London?

Wales v Northern Ireland - UEFA Euro 2016 - Round of 16 - Parc de Princes Source: Jonathan Brady

Flag 44Mins

BOOKING! Dallas catches Bale on the toe. Bale dramatically hits the deck. Dallas gets a yellow for his troubles and now misses a potential Northern Ireland quarter-final tie.


Well, Michael O’Neill will be the happier of the two managers. They created the better opportunities with Stuart Dallas and Jamie Ward testing Wayne Hennessy.

At the other end, Bale has been stifled and the North have kept their shape really well at the back. Wales don’t seem to have the players in the middle of the park to play passes that can break the line and get Bale in behind.

If it stays like this, you’d really fancy the North to nick something.


No changes at the break for either side.

By the way, just to reiterate the North’s solid defence – it’s been 13 games since they last conceded more than a single goal.


Stuart Dallas just needs to be a little careful here. He’s on a booking but races back and catches Gunter and gets a warning from Martin Atkinson.

Flag 54Mins

CLOSE! Oooh. Out of nothing. Cross is swung in from the right and Vokes gets up and sends a header towards goal. But it’s as if he wasn’t quite expecting it and never gets his body right for it. Brilliant delivery though – right onto his forehead.

Flag 56Mins

SUBSTITUTION! Robson-Kanu (on) – Vokes (off)

Fresh legs up top for Chris Coleman’s side and let’s see if that changes their energy in attack.


Well, Bale draws the foul from Norwood and it’s a free-kick in a great position here.

Flag 59Mins

VERY CLOSE! Bale steps up and whips the left shot towards McGovern’s near post but the keeper stretches across and makes a great stop to keep it out.

Flag 60Mins

BOOKING! It’s Neil Taylor who’s the latest to get a yellow as the North try and break quickly following Bale’s excellent free-kick.

Flag 63Mins

SUBSTITUTION! J. Williams (in) – Ledley (out)

Coleman makes his second change and Williams is an interesting move. He’ll give them more from midfield and it’s clear the Wales bench wants to push hard.


It hasn’t been a delight but I’ve seen worse.

I blame Brexit for this, personally.

Flag 67Mins

BOOKING! Davis has a nibble at Bale. It’s late and, as usual, the Welshman makes the most of the contact.


Williams has looked bright since being introduced for Wales, by the way. Likes to get on the ball and beat people. Had a nice run moments ago but just lost his footing as he reached the penalty area.

Flag 69Mins

SUBSTITUTION! Washington (on) – Ward (off)

It looks like Washington will play just behind Lafferty now and that may give the North an added dimension when they get forward.


Well, that’s a sickener for O’Neill and his charges. Bale picks up the ball in a little bit of space in the left channel of the area and drives in a superb cross into the six-yard area. It’s a teasing ball and McAuley sticks out a leg to try and cut it out but only succeeds in sending it into his own net.


Collision between Jonathan and Ashley Williams means we’ve had a bit of a stoppage for the last few minutes. Would not like to be on the receiving end of the imposing centre-half, that’s for sure, and the substitute has come off worst in that accidental clash.

Flag 86Mins

SUBSTITUTION! Magennis (on) – McAuley (off)

Well, they need to really go for it now. It’s a cruel game, of course. McAuley is such a veteran and doesn’t really deserve to have probably his last ever NI appearance ruined by an own goal.


Looks increasingly unlikely Northern Ireland are going to find something here. Not much invention out there and they look absolutely knackered too.


Four minutes of injury time, apparently.


I can confirm that it looks like Williams has suffered damage to his arm. Might be broken.


Silly foul from Ramsey and free kick for the North.


Now, it’s a corner…


Well, Northern Ireland’s adventure comes to an end in bitterly-disappointing fashion. Gareth McAuley’s own goal with 15 minutes to go proved the difference and it’s Wales who progress.

It wasn’t the greatest game we’ve seen as the North frustrated Bale and his team-mates for long periods but it was just one moment that will forever irritate Michael O’Neill.

Bale was left 1v1 in a dangerous area and was allowed get a superb cross in. And because of that, the North are out.

They’ll stew over that because Wales were there for the taking but they’re now into a last-eight tie against either Hungary or Belgium and that’s a brilliant story in itself.

It’s another game that’s decided by an individual – we’ve seen it in this tournament already – and Bale’s assist was that key moment.

He fired an excellent free-kick towards the near post earlier in the half that Michael McGovern did well to palm away and, in all honesty, very little besides that.

However, he conjured something when it mattered and his side progress.

Thanks for staying with us and Croatia’s clash with Portugal is coming up. Please join us for that too.

About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan