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Full-time: Wales 1-0 Northern Ireland

A roar of jubilation and relief from the Welsh fans as their side confirm their place in the last eight. They will now face either Hungary or Belgium in Lille on Friday.

Wales fans

That is it for this particular live blog, but join my IBTimes UK colleague Tony Mogan for live coverage of the evening kick-off between Croatia and Portugal from the Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens.



Wales 1-0 Northern Ireland

McGovern gets the OK from O'Neill to join the attack. The tension is palpable until a poor delivery is easily headed away by Bale at the near post. That should be that.

Magennis launches a long throw into the box but Hennessey punches clear. Ramsey then gives away a free-kick and is deservedly booked for kicking the ball away. Allen blocks Davis' free-kick and Northern Ireland have one last corner...

Ashley Williams stays strong to repel Lafferty with that injured arm lolloping at his side. Gunter then blocks a Dallas cross and Hennessey plucks the ball out of the air in confident fashion.

Four minutes of added time signalled by the fourth official. Is there another twist to come at the Parc des Princes or are Wales heading to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016?


Ashley Williams sinks to the turf and looks like he will be replaced after all. James Collins is stripped and ready to take the field before a change of heart from the undeniably brave Welsh captain.

Coleman may need to take matters into his own hands here.

That was a really painful clash, but both players look like they are going to continue. Ashley Williams in particular is well known for his tough nature and unwavering consistency.

Northern Ireland's search for an equaliser sees another striker in Josh Magennis come on for the unfortunate McAuley.

Northern Ireland are furious as play is stopped midway through an attack. Atkinson had no choice but to blow his whistle, though, after a nasty accidental collision between Ashley and Jonny Williams.

O'Neill responds to that setback by replacing Norwood with McGinn. The Aberdeen midfielder scored Northern Ireland's second goal in their 2-0 win over Ukraine last week.

The deadlock is finally broken in Paris with only 15 minutes remaining. Ramsey exchanges passes with Robson-Kanu before finding Bale in acres of space on the left-hand side. He then unleashes a wicked cross into the six-yard box that McAuley inadvertently turns into his own net from close range.

It's desperately disappointing for the Northern Ireland centre-back, but Robson-Kanu was right there for the easiest of tap-ins if he missed it.

Gareth McAuley
Clive Rose/Getty Images
Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey

Goal: Wales 1-0 Northern Ireland (Gareth McAuley OG)

Lafferty wins a decent flick-on but Washington is too far away to capitalise. Hennessey then comes rushing out of his goal to clear with the former running through.

A super tackle from Chester stops Lafferty once again. The West Brom defender is enjoying a very good tournament indeed.

O'Neill does finally make his first change, but Ward goes off instead of Jonny Evans. QPR striker Washington jogs on.

Gunter's cross towards Robson-Kanu is headed away at the near post. Williams then embarks on a slaloming run forward only to lose his footing as he gets into the penalty area.

Davis has joined Dallas in the book for an uncompromising challenge on Bale.

Northern Ireland work the ball well on the edge of Wales' penalty area, but the attack breaks down when a Dallas cross lands nowhere near any teammate.

Jonny Evans looks to be struggling with a knock and may have to be substituted.

A second change from Coleman with just over an hour gone. Jonny Williams comes on for Ledley.

Northern Ireland win themselves a couple of corners. Norwood's first delivery is just too high for the leaping Dallas and his second drifts straight out of play at the back post. Disappointing.

Bale cleverly wins a free-kick from Norwood but is denied a fourth goal of Euro 2016 so far when a dipping effort on target is beaten away by McGovern.

Wales then appeal vociferously for handball as Ward leads a counter-attack.

Michael McGovern
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Norwood certainly has a long-range strike in his locker, just search for his stunning goal in Reading's 5-1 demolition of Ipswich in September 2015, but his latest attempt is easily dealt with by Hennessey.

That was to be Vokes' last involvement in the game as he is replaced by Hal Robson-Kanu.

Now the match is beginning to open at last. A superb deep cross from Ramsey on the right is headed wide by Vokes. That was a real chance.

An over elaborate Northern Ireland free-kick routine eventually sees Corry Evans flight in an enticing cross that is headed away at the vital moment by Davies.

Ward then has a shot blocked but the whistle has already gone for a foul by Jonny Evans.


Lafferty receives a little telling off from Atkinson after declining to jump for an aerial ball and causing Davies to topple over.

An encouraging run from the striker is then stopped by an excellent challenge from Chester.

The second half is underway. Someone needs to step up to the plate here if we are to avoid extra-time and penalties.


Northern Ireland are certainly winning the battle in the stands, where they have been much louder than their Welsh counterparts. Even Uefa are trying to belatedly tap into that Grigg hype...


Certainly not a classic so far in Paris. As we expected, it's been a tight and attritional affair with neither side willing to take too many chances going forward and risk being caught on the counter-attack. Northern Ireland started as the better of the two teams and Wales have yet to register a single shot on target with Bale kept quiet.

Let's hope for much better quality after the break. The first half was more akin to a mundane Championship/League One fixture.

Wales vs Northern Ireland


Wales 0-0 Northern Ireland

A reckless sliding challenge from Dallas on Bale earns the Leeds man his second yellow card of the tournament. If Northern Ireland do reach the quarter-finals, then he will play no part.

Northern Ireland try a corner routine straight from the training ground. Norwood's low pass to the near post is flicked on by Ward, but no-one else in a white shirt is alert to the chance and Wales hook clear.

Gunter concedes a cheap free-kick with a needless foul on Lafferty. Reading teammate Norwood sends in a cross to the back stick that Davies is forced to head behind in order to prevent Cathcart from nodding home.

Aaron Hughes gets the better of Taylor out on the right flank and Gunter rises to snuff out the danger from his inviting far-post cross. That was a crucial intervention given that Dallas was lurking menacingly behind him.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is present in Paris, no doubt keeping a close eye on the fortunes of Gunners midfielder Ramsey.

I'm not at all convinced that it's a scouting mission, particularly given the lack of real quality on display. The Frenchman has also been working as a pundit for beIN Sports.

Arsene Wenger
Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Wales inject a bit of pace into their attack for the first time this afternoon. Gunter gets free down the right and clips in a cross that is headed away by McAuley as far as Taylor.

The Swansea full-back's cross-cum-shot is blocked. Still very much goalless.

Oliver Norwood has the chance to produce a dangerous delivery from the left, but his underhit free-kick is headed away by Joe Ledley.

Lafferty is then stopped in his tracks by James Chester.

Allen finds Bale with a short pass and the world's most-expensive footballer drags a low shot comfortably wide. Good pressure from Northern Ireland skipper Steven Davis.

Lafferty easily gets ahead of Ben Davies to head an inviting cross wide. O'Neill will be pleased with how his team have approached this opening 25 minutes.

Another save from Hennessey, this time to help Ward's long-range effort over the crossbar. Bale stands strong at the near post to head away the corner.

Northern Ireland still on the front foot.

Ramsey shows good skill to nutmeg Jonny Evans, but draws the ire of the West Brom defender after hitting the deck rather theatrically. The referee is similarly unconvinced.

Bale knocks the ball back for Taylor, who swings in a brilliant deep cross from the left. Vokes meets it with a powerful header and Ramsey reacts quickly to turn home from close range. Unluckily for him, however, the assistant referee has his flag raised for offside.

It won't count.

Aaron Ramsey

Dallas concedes a free-kick inside his own half and Vokes gets up above McAuley to head well wide. This is not a game that you expect to be bursting with goals.

Nothing doing so far for Wales. Bale is being well shackled by two markers every time the ball heads in his direction.

Bale looks to cause problems down that right-hand side. He crosses towards Ramsey, who cannot make contact with an attempted flick. McGovern gathers.

Northern Ireland have had the better of the opening stages here and a swift counter-attack ends with a spinning strike from Stuart Dallas that is palmed wide by Wayne Hennessey.

The Crystal Palace goalkeeper then confidently claims the corner and Wales survive. 10 minutes gone.

Stuart Dallas
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Chants of "you've only got one song" ring out from Wales fans as their green-clad counterparts launch into another endless verse of "Will Grigg's on fire". A shame that the Wigan striker is yet to play a single minute of these European Championships so far...

It's been a cagey opening at the Parc des Princes. Wales captain Ashley Williams is penalised for a rogue elbow on Jamie Ward. The Nottingham Forest winger looks to have felt that and writhes around in pain.

A free-kick towards the back post is nodded on by Lafferty, who is penalised for a push on Chris Gunter.


Strong defending from Jonny Evans, whose younger brother Corry also starts today, to head back to McGovern under significant pressure from Bale.

The man in the middle is a familiar face in England's Martin Atkinson.

How was that for pre-match atmosphere?

Wales vs Northern Ireland is underway in Paris. The general expectation is that an attritional game is likely to be lit up by a piece of magic from Bale. Let's see how that prediction pans out...

It's time for the national anthems. God Save the Queen will come first, followed by Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau.

Wales vs Northern Ireland
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

It's all over in Saint-Etienne, where Poland have become the first side to reach the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 with a penalty shootout victory over Switzerland. With no more goals in extra-time, Grzegorz Krychowiak powerfully struck the winning spot-kick after a shocking miss from new Arsenal signing Granit Xhaka.

The 2012 co-hosts, who had previously failed to qualify for the knockout stages in two attempts, will play the winner of tonight's clash between Croatia and Portugal at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens.

The atmosphere certainly appears to be building in Paris. Northern Ireland supporters in particular have been a credit to their country at this tournament, recovering from the tragic loss of two of their own in Darren Rodgers and Robert Rainey.

Northern Ireland
Stu Forster/Getty Images
Northern Ireland
Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

In fact, Northern Ireland have not beaten Wales at all since former Blackburn Rovers stalwart Noel Brotherston struck the only goal of the game in a 1979–80 British Home Championship tie at Ninian Park.

The Northern Irish celebrated their centenary by winning the tournament for only the second time in 96 years. The British Home Championship was eventually abolished in 1984. Northern Ireland won the last edition too.

Wales have triumphed in 44 of 95 total past meetings, with the Green and White Army winning 25.

As mentioned there, these two teams drew 1-1 in a friendly at Cardiff City Stadium back in March. Goalless at the break, a second-half strike from defender Craig Cathcart looked to have sent Northern Ireland on their way to a first non-competitive away victory in almost a decade.

However, McAuley's late foul on Church allowed the MK Dons frontman to seal a share of the spoils from the spot.

Simon Church
Stu Forster/Getty Images

While acknowledging that Wales likely go into this match as favourites, O'Neill believes his team's familiarity with the Parc des Princes could lend them the upper hand.

"Wales won their group, they're in a good place – a great performance against Russia in particular which we've watched back – so we expect a tough game. The teams know each other very well, we obviously played each other in March and drew 1-1. But it's a game we believe we can come through, but we expect a very tough game.

The players were really upbeat knowing we would be coming back to the Parc des Princes. We've played here obviously on Tuesday night against the world champions and I think the experience of doing that will serve us well come the game tomorrow night. We'll have to be at our best, it will be a different type of game."

Speaking in his press conference this week, Coleman urged his side to forget about that whipping of Russia and focus fully on a Northern Ireland side he expects to provide a stern physical test.

The last performance was outstanding, but it's all about tomorrow. We can't think about anything else. [Northern Ireland] are strong, physical, very well-organised and have a good team spirit. This is tournament football. Both teams find themselves in a position where they've earned respect and attention, and it's the attention we've always wanted.

There's not a team in this tournament who can think past the next game. Nine times out of ten, the games are very close. It's one game and it's all about tomorrow. It's about getting our mind right.

One change from O'Neill, who brings back Kyle Lafferty at the expense of Conor Washington. The Norwich City forward, who finished last season on loan at Birmingham, has struggled badly for regular minutes at club level over recent years but still managed to net seven goals in qualifying.

He endured a thankless task in leading the line against Poland before being controversially dropped for the defeat of Ukraine.

Kyle Lafferty

Northern Ireland XI to face Wales: McGovern, Hughes, McAuley, Cathcart, J. Evans, C. Evans, Ward, Norwood, Davis, Dallas, Lafferty

Coleman unsurprisingly names an unchanged side and sticks with Burnley's Sam Vokes as the striker to support Bale. Hal Robson-Kanu, Jonny Williams and Simon Church offer alternative options on the bench.

Wales XI to face Northern Ireland: Hennessey, Gunter, Chester, A. Williams, Davies, Taylor, Allen, Ledley, Ramsey, Bale, Vokes

Team news from Wales vs Northern Ireland to come very shortly. Stay tuned...

In the day's early kick-off at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Etienne, Switzerland and Poland are heading to extra-time to determine who will meet Portugal or Croatia at the quarter-final stage.

Jakub Blaszczykowski kept his cool to nutmeg Yann Sommer and give his team the lead before half-time, but a moment of incredible ingenuity from Xherdan Shaqiri has forced another 30 minutes.


The Stoke City playmaker's sublime bicycle kick will surely go down as the goal of the competition. I implore you to take a look if you haven't already. Just stunning.

Northern Ireland's first group escape since the 1958 World Cup was less straightforward. They began with a desperately insipid 1-0 defeat to Poland, but rebounded in fine style as goals from Gareth McAuley and Niall McGinn secured a deserved win over Ukraine.

Michael O'Neill's side were absolutely dominated by Germany in Paris on Tuesday and went behind courtesy of Mario Gomez's strike after half an hour. On the balance of play/clear-cut chances they should by rights have been on the end of a cricket score, but a number of heroic saves from goalkeeper Michael McGovern kept things respectable. They eventually went through as one of the tournament's four best third-placed teams.

Euro 2016 best photos
Max Rossi/Reuters

Despite suffering that heartbreaking stoppage-time defeat to England in Lens, Wales, who opened with a narrow win over Slovakia, eventually finished above their rivals at the summit of Group B with a terrific 3-0 dismantling of woeful Russia at Stadium Municipal de Toulouse on Monday night.

Manager Chris Coleman hailed such a victory as one of their best ever as well as arguably the finest moment of his entire career. The rout began in the 11th minute, when a superb pass from Joe Allen - AKA 'the Welsh Andrea Pirlo'- allowed Aaron Ramsey to break clear and chip goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.

Left-back Neil Taylor soon got in on the act with his first goal at any level for six years, while Real Madrid star Gareth Bale became the first player to score in all three European Championship group matches since Ruud van Nistelrooy and Milan Baros back in 2004. Those three points, coupled with England's failure to beat Slovakia, landed Wales in the so-called easier half of the knockout draw away from the likes of defending champions Spain, Italy, World Cup winners Germany and hosts France.

Euro 2016 best photos
Michael Dalder/Reuters

Just two days after the respective countries voted very differently indeed during the United Kingdom's highly divisive referendum on their membership of the European Union (EU), this afternoon attentions turn back to football as Wales and Northern Ireland become the first home nations ever to meet in the knockout stages of a major tournament with a last-16 European Championship clash in Paris.

Michael O'Neill and Chris Coleman

IBTimes UK has all the pre-match build-up from the Parc des Princes and we will also bring you team news and confirmed line-ups as they break. Live updates to come after kick-off at 17.00 BST.