Wales lock horns against Northern Ireland in the round of last 16 encounter of Euro 2016 at Parc des Princes, Paris on Saturday.
Wales are the favourites in Saturday’s clash against Northern Ireland as they topped Group B with 6 points from 3 matches. Wales started their Euro 2016 campaign with a 2-1 won over Slovakia followed by a 2-1 defeat in a high-octane clash against England. However they came back strong against Russia and clinched a 3-0 victory in their final group stage game. This has been the most glorious era in the history of Welsh football as they qualified for the European competition for the first time and has also made it to the round of 16.
Real Madrid star and Wales striker Gareth Bale has been in top form and is the only player to score in all the three matches in the group stage with a total of 3 goals to his name. Chris Coleman is hopeful that the former Spurs star will add to his tally and lead his team to the quarter-finals.
Northern Ireland finished third in Group C and they were one of the four best third-placed teams in the Euro 2016. They managed only one win against Ukraine and that has allowed them to progress to the last 16 of the tournament.
On the contrary Northern Ireland qualified for the round of last 16 as one of the four best third-placed teams in the Euro 2016. They started their campaign with a 1-0 defeat against Poland followed by a 2-0 win against Ukraine in their second game. They finished their group stage campaign with a 1-0 defeat to Germany and finished 3rd in the group with 3 points from 3 matches.
Despite Northern Ireland and Wales being a part of the United Kingdom, they differ when the style of play is taken into consideration. Northern Ireland have a more defensive approach while Wales focuses more on individual play and likes to attack on the counter.
A victory for either side will assure them a place in the quarter-finals of the Euro 2016 in France.
What did Managers say?
Chris Coleman (Wales): “We can learn from the game against England, being a British derby. It will be a great game, good teams who have done well, very well to get as far as they have and it will be whoever gets it right on the day. Northern Ireland are physical. They get the ball forward quicker. That’s where their strength is. They are superbly organised and defensively so difficult to break down. They are excellent from set plays.”
Michael O’Neill (Northern Ireland): “We will be heading back to the Parc des Princes which as we know from Tuesday night is a brilliant stadium. We will benefit from the familiarity of having been there already, of having done the journey and of having played on the pitch. The results tonight put us in what is arguably the more favourable side of the draw, so we are pleased about that. We are in no doubt that it is going to be a tough game against Wales but we will go into the match believing that we can win and that we can progress.”
Possible XI: Hennessey; Chester, Williams, Davies; Gunter, Ledley, Allen, Taylor; Ramsey, Voakes, Bale
Possible XI: McGovern; J.Evans, Cathcart, McAuley, Hughes; Dallas, Norwood, Davis, C.Evans, Ward; Washington.
Where to watch live
Kick-off is at 5pm BST. BBC One and BBC One HD will provide live coverage in the United Kingdom. Radio commentary of the game will be available on BCC Radio 5 Live.
Wales to win: 1
Northern Ireland to win: 4