Toulouse (France) (AFP) – Wales manager Chris Coleman could not contain his joy as his team beat Russia 3-0 on Monday to qualify for the knockout phase of Euro 2016 as winners of Group B, ahead of England.
Man of the match Aaron Ramsey put Wales ahead in Toulouse before a rare goal by Neil Taylor doubled their lead and Gareth Bale’s third goal in as many matches at the tournament secured a famous win.
“Looking at the group with England, Russia and Slovakia we knew it was going to be tough, and it was all down to the last game. To win it was great. I’m very proud of the players,” Coleman said.
“We enjoyed tonight and being at the top of the group is a bonus. The performance was really pleasing.
“I’ve been a player myself. I’m so lucky to be experiencing something now as a manager, at a tournament, and to see the team perform like that, it’s really pleasing.
“I’m immensely proud. Nights like tonight when you see your supporters… As a nation, geographically we’re small. But for heart, we were a continent tonight.”
Wales, who beat Slovakia 2-1 in their opening match before conceding in stoppage time to lose 2-1 against England, can now look forward to a last-16 tie in Paris on Saturday against a third-placed team from Group A, C or D.
“Against England the occasion maybe got to us, in possession,” said Arsenal midfielder Ramsey.
“Tonight that was what we wanted to work on the most and we passed it tremendously well. We could have scored maybe more in the end.
“Overall, fantastic performance. We topped the group, which nobody probably would have seen coming. Our main target was to get out of the group.”
Midfielder Joe Allen, who set up Ramsey’s opener, added: “I thought we started the game so well, from start to finish we thoroughly deserved the win.
“To win in style like that is a special moment for Welsh football, I think. We had the disappointment of the late goal against England, but we didn’t let it affect us. You can see how resilient the boys are.”
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