UEFA Euro 2016 Knockout Stage Preview – Wales vs Northern Ireland

Wales vs Northern Ireland, Parc des Princes, Paris


Match Log

Wales

Wales 2 (Bale 10, Robson-Kanu 81), Slovakia 1 (Duda 61)
England 2 (Vardy 56, Sturridge 90+2), Wales 1 (Bale 42)
Russia 0, Wales 3 (Ramsey 11, Ramsey 20, Bale 67)

Northern Ireland

Poland 1 (Milik 51), Northern Ireland 0
Ukraine 0, Northern Ireland 2 (McAuley 49, McGinn 90+6)
Northern Ireland 0, Germany 1 (Gomez 30)

Team News

Wales

The Welsh have no injury concerns after a performance against Russia which has been labelled one of the best in the history of Welsh football. The main selection issue centres around the attack, and Chris Coleman will need to decide who will partner a red-hot Gareth Bale in Paris. Sam Vokes and Hal Robson-Kanu are the two options, and Coleman could go either way.
Likely team (5-3-2): Hennessey – Gunter, Chester, A Williams, Davies, Taylor; Allen, Ledley, Ramsey; Vokes, Bale.

Northern Ireland

Michael O’Neill played the same team in the final two games of the group stage, and with no injury concerns it is likely that he will keep the same XI to face the Welsh. There were some issues in the game against Germany, but these are unlikely to be fixed with personnel changes.
Likely team (4-5-1): McGovern – Hughes, McAuley, Cathcart, J Evans; Ward, C Evans, Davis, Norwood, Dallas; Washington.

Keys to success

Wales

The Welsh have been one of the standout teams of the tournament, and they will look to maintain their defensive stability at the Parc des Princes. Bale is in incredible form, and if his partner is able to complement him and put plenty of pressure on the Northern Irish defence the Welsh will be incredibly difficult to defend. Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen have been in stunning form, and they will need to keep this up.

Northern Ireland

The Northern Irish are happy to sit back while conceding possession and territory, and their defence will need to stand up to the Welsh challenge. Michael McGovern played one of the games of his life against the Germans in a man-of-the-match display, and he will need to maintain that form if Northern Ireland are to go any further in this tournament. The Northern Irish will look to score on the break, and Jamie Ward, Stuart Dallas and Conor Washington will need to show plenty of pace in transition.

Prediction

The Welsh are much stronger on paper, and with Bale, Ramsey and Allen in excellent form they will present an immense challenge for the Northern Irish. For their part, O’Neill’s team will always be hard to break down, but the gap in quality is simply too great and the Welsh should go through. Wales 2-0.

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