Euro 2016 last 16: Wales can edge Northern Ireland in potential Home Nations thriller
Lee Gormley | June 23, 2016
Wales v Northern Ireland
- Euro 2016 last 16
- Saturday, June 25th
- Kick-off: 17:00 BST
- Parc des Princes, Paris
- Live on BBC One
Home Nations Wales and NI clash
After incredible Euro 2016 group campaigns in France, Wales and Northern Ireland are set to collide in a last 16 battle between Home Nations at the Parc des Princes, a fixture which they Dragons boast a dominant record in.
From 95 previous meetings between the two nations, Wales have emerged victorious on 44 occasions to Northern Ireland’s 27 wins, though that will count for nothing when the pair clash in Paris in the knockout phase.
The two countries played out a 1-1 draw in a pre-tournament friendly before embarking on their respective journeys to France and another stalemate after 90 minutes is 21/10 with Coral to occur, while the Welsh enter as favourites and 9/5 to prevail without conceding.
Michael O’Neill’s Green and White Army were overcome 1-0 by Germany in their final Group C game, but managed to progress as one of the best third-placed sides, and they are 15/4 to earn a famous victory over their neighbours within normal time.
Bale set to star for Welsh again
Gareth Bale, The world’s most expensive player, has taken the tournament by storm, firing in three goals to lead the scoring charts alongside one-time Real Madrid teammate Alvaro Morata after the group stage, including a stunning free-kick over England.
Chris Coleman’s reliable forward opened the scoring in the eventual defeat to rivals England and the first group win over Slovakia, while also dispatching in the Russian success. The Los Blancos marksman is therefore 9/4 to open proceedings against Northern Ireland and 7/4 to fire in two or more in normal time.
The Welsh wideman is also 8/1 to strike directly from a free-kick in his latest appearance, having fired in that impressive set-piece against England and also in the opening win over the Slovaks.
Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey also got in on the act against Russia and the Premier League playmaker is 7/4 to fire in another anytime, while Hal Robson-Kanu, who netted a late winner over Slovakia, is 2/1 to get his name on the scoresheet this time around again.
Lafferty to end Euro goal drought?
Despite helping Northern Ireland reach France with his qualifying goal surge, Kyle Lafferty has so far failed to find the target in the finals, but he is 11/4 to change that by dispatching anytime in Paris.
The Norwich City frontman was also dropped in recent group games as O’Neill opted for a change in tactics, and QPR forward Conor Washington is 11/4 to strike on his latest appearance here, with fellow attacker Will Grigg 10/3 to live up to his now infamous chant and fire in anytime.
Midfielders Jamie Ward (4/1 anytime), Steven Davis (5/1) and Stuart Dallas (6/1) have been impressive so far for their nation, as well as defenders Jonny Evans and Gareth McAuley. The latter centre back headed in the opener during the triumph over Ukraine and he is 7/1 to get on the scoresheet again this time out.
Following a thrilling set of final group games, Euro 2016 really took off, and another goal fest could well be on the cards in this Home Nations encounter on French soil, with 5/1 available on there being 3.5 successful strikes in this match-up.
What does Coral football ambassador Alan Shearer think ahead of Wales v Northern Ireland? Here are his thoughts on this last 16 battle:
Coral’s top tip: Back Wales’ Gareth Bale to score the opener once again here at 9/4.