The Welsh national team was second best for most of the game in their 1 – 0 win over Northern Ireland in the last 16 clash of the 2016 Euro Championships but manager Chris Coleman’s fairy tale at the tournament continued as Gareth McAuley’s own goal secured a quarter final berth for Wales.
McAuley turned in Gareth Bale’s low cross, under pressure from Hal Robson Kanu on the 74th minute to win it for Wales and Coleman, speaking after the match, admitted that though his side was second best, they gave a good account of themselves.
He praised his charges for hanging in even though they were under immense pressure for large parts of a cagey game that saw Northern Ireland create the best chances with Wales’ keeper Wayne Hennessey in his best form.
“These boys, the good thing about them is they have a bit of spirit about them and when they’re not playing so well they can hang in. We showed a lot of heart today, a lot of courage and showed another side to our game.
“We came through it and it is a fantastic achievement – it feels brilliant. Northern Ireland were the underdogs and you wouldn’t have thought that looking at the game.
“We had to be patient and we hung on in there. The performance does not put a downer on it. I would rather be standing here, in the quarter-final, having not played at our best.” He said.
The win will see Wales set up a meeting with the winner in the other last 16 match pitting Hungary against Belgium.