Lens (France) (AFP) – Gareth Bale drilled home a long-range free-kick to put Wales 1-0 up against neighbours and Group B rivals England at half-time in Lens on Thursday.

Raheem Sterling blazed over inside the opening 10 minutes in what represented England’s best chance, while Chris Smalling flashed a header just wide from a corner.

But Real Madrid star Bale hammered a free-kick past England goalkeeper Joe Hart from 35 yards just before the break to put Wales on course for the last 16.

Wales beat Slovakia 2-1 in their opening match and can clinch top spot in the Group with victory, while England drew their first game against Russia 1-1.