Cheat sheet: How Wales stormed into the last 16 with an absolute demolition of Russia


They may have lost the battle against England, but they won the Group B war as a 3-0 victory over Russia ensured they finished above their neighbours and topped the pool.

Goals from Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale, sandwiching an unlikely effort from Neil Taylor, killed off a game which Wales absolutely dominated in Toulouse. They march on into the last 16...

The game in one line

Chris Coleman celebrates Wales' win over Russia

Wales proved they belong among Europe's big boys.

Key moments

Aaron Ramsey celebrates scoring for Wales

1. Wales were already by far the better team when Joe Allen slipped the ball through to Ramsey after 11 minutes and the Arsenal man chipped the ball neatly over the out-rushing Russian keeper Igor Akinfeev.

2. Wales' second after 20 minutes won't feature in any goal-of-the-tournament competitions but it was thoroughly deserved. First Bale's pass ricocheted fortuitously into the path of Taylor. It's hard to recall a player looking like he had less of a clue what to do in front of goal than the Swansea left-back, who duly hit the ball straight at Akinfeev, but he stabbed in home at the second attempt.

Neil Taylor scores for Wales

3. No Wales victory is complete without a goal from Bale, and it duly came in the 67th minute. Ramsey slipped an angled ball through, and Bale was there to finish with the outside of his left boot. If Russia were trying to play him offside, they failed.

Was it the right result?

Gareth Bale scores for Wales

You could say it wasn't the right result, but only in the sense that Wales could have had more. This was serious dominance, born in equal parts of a confident Wales performance and an utterly abject showing from Russia. It put England's draw with the same opposition into perspective.

Who played well?

Joe Allen playing for Wales

Allen has probably never lived up to his 'Welsh Pirlo' nickname more than he did in this game, while Ramsey was as kinetic and ubiquitous as he was against England. Really though it was just a great team performance from Wales, who were better in every department than their opponents.

Who played badly?

Russia line up before their match against Wales

It cannot be overstated how poor Russia were, especially in the first half. It would be harsh to pick out one player who was worse than the rest, but only goalkeeper Akinfeev could really claim not to have been terrible - and even he didn't play all that well.

For Wales, Sam Vokes - in for Hal Robson-Kanu - couldn't match the level of the rest of Wales' attacking players. He doesn't look the answer up top - not that it will matter if Bale carries on scoring.

Goalscorer of the game

One name stands out on the scoresheet, and that's Taylor. It was his first ever goal for Wales and the first he'd bagged in any competitive game since he was playing in non-league football six years ago. With that in mind, we can probably forgive him his slightly untidy finish.

Stat of the game

That's a stat that tells you a lot - how well Wales have done just to get here, how well they've played since they've been here and just how good Gareth Bale is. Also worth noting: Bale is the first player to score in all three European Championship group games since 2004. He's pretty good at football.

Best hashtag

The vast majority of fans eschewed the official #RUSWAL hashtag when they noticed swapping it round and making #WALRUS was a lot more fun. Check it out if you're a fan of marine mammals.

What next?

Albania celebrate a goal against Romania

Wales, as group winners, will face one of the best third-placed teams in Paris on Saturday That could be Group A - Albania - Group C, or Group D. So Northern Ireland would still be a possibility.

Russia go home with their tails very much between their legs, after a tournament to forget on and off the pitch. Next time we see them they'll be hosting the World Cup in two years' time, when surely they can't be as bad as this.