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The Welsh continued their quest for Euro 2016 glory by beating a Northern Ireland side that proved hard to break down and maybe even were the better team over the 90 minutes. It was a game of poor quality and it took Wales’s talisman Gareth Bale to produce the spark to grab the only goal of the game. The Real man was fed by Aaron Ramsey out the wing after some great hold up play by sub Hal Robson-Kanu, Bale whipped a first time cross into the corridor of uncertainty and West Brom defender Gareth McAuley turned the ball into his own net. It was enough in the end to see the Welsh through to only their second quarter-final since 1958. Manager Chris Coleman confessed his team were second best but will no doubt be delighted to get to the next round despite not playing their best football.
Belgium finally put together a performance worthy of a team who were backed as one of the potential winners of this competition. Hungary, who surprised many to get this far, were the team on the receiving end of Belgium’s return to form. The Belgiun’s took the lead through a Toby Alderweireld header from a delightful Kevin De Bruyne free kick. The Tottenham Hotspur defender has been a danger from crosses this season in the EPL and made no mistake here. The Hungarians did well to keep the score at one nil, their goal-keeper Gabor Kirlay, called into action on numerous occasions. The Red Devils turned up the heat late in the second half when Eden Hazard burnt his marker for pace and delivered a perfect cross for sub and new Chelsea team mate, 18 year old Michu Batshuayi to side foot home 12 minutes from time. Belgium’s number 10 then grabbed the third after a brilliant solo run, cut in and finish. Yannick Carrasco wrapped things up in stoppage time after being fed a perfectly weighted through ball from Radja Nainggolan.
On paper Belgium have the better team and looked in lethal form against Hungary. However they struggled against Italy who also play three at the back. The Welsh will have their work cut out, especially if Hazard and De Bruyne are firing on all cylinders. But in Gareth Bale they have a player capable of hurting any team and maybe even deciding the result here.
Wales 2-1 Belgium