Northern Ireland took on another home nation Wales in the first knockout round of 2016 UEFA European championship. Wales were slightly favourite to win the game and qualify for the quarterfinals but Northern Ireland held their own and made it a very competitive game. Both teams were deadlocked till the first half and it was evident it needed something special from either side to take the lead. Just when it looked like game is headed to extra time, Wales took the lead with Gareth McAuley putting the ball into his own net.
Northern Ireland copped well with Gareth Bale and company for most part and had their fair share of chances to take the lead but game was still 0-0 at the halftime.
Wales 1-0 N.Ireland Highlights
[ UEFA European Championship 2016 ]
75′ 1 – 0 Gareth McAuley (o.g.)
Match Preview & Possible Starting Lineups: Northern Ireland lost against Germany and Poland but their 2-0 win over Ukraine got them through as one of the best third placed teams. However they need to up their game if they were to get the better of highly rated Wales side who themselves won two of their group games and a narrow loss against England.
Wales has played some great football and if not for that late winner by Strurridge they could have had the perfect record. Having said that Chris Coleman has no injury or suspension worries which means he can started his best possible team against N.Ireland. Coleman is highly likely to name the same starting lineup which took the field in Russian demolition of 3-0 in their last group game.
Northern Ireland on the other hand might have to make couple of changes after that narrow defeat against Germany where world champions dominated them throughout the 90 minutes and only the heroics of keeper McGovern kept the scoreline to 1-0.
Match Predictions: Gareth Bale seems to be on a mission at the moment having scored three goals in three group games with hitting full strides. There is alot of expectations on his shoulders and so far in his career he has always delivered when it mattered the most. So we can safely assume another staller performance from him. The winning team is sure to make history on Saturday. I am leaning towards Wales winning this one comfortably.