6 Stats Zone screens that reveal how Bale's Wales tore Russia apart

Chris Coleman's charges were utterly dominant in their final Group B encounter as they qualified for the round of 16 in first place. Greg Lea analyses how they did it...

We are part of The Trust Project What is it?

A thumping 3-0 win over Russia secured Wales' place in the knockout stage of Euro 2016, with England's failure to beat Slovakia seeing Chris Coleman's men advance as Group B winners.

This was a thoroughly impressive performance against a miserable Russia outfit, with Wales executing their counter-attacking game plan to perfection. Aaron Ramsey and Neil Taylor put their side 2-0 up within the first 20 minutes, before Gareth Bale rounded things off midway through the second half.

With the help of Stats Zone, here are six talking points from Wales' thrashing of Russia...


Players and supporters celebrate Wales' qualification for the knockout rounds of Euro 2016

1) Wales sharp on turnover

Even in the opening few minutes, Wales showed how dangerous they could be when the ball changed hands. Initially content to allow Russia possession and stand off in a compact defensive shape, Wales were quick to pounce on any sloppy passes or loose first touches and set themselves off on the counter-attack.

Coleman's charges frequently pinched the ball in midfield and threw men forward to try and exploit a back four severely lacking in pace down the centre. Ramsey's opening goal was an example of their quick, incisive passing as soon as possession had been turned over, with the Arsenal man dinking a lovely finish over Igor Akinfeev after a fine assist from Joe Allen.

2) Russia don't learn lesson

Russia needed a win to stand any chance of qualifying, so they were always likely to leave Wales a bit of space as they pushed up the pitch in search of an equaliser. That still doesn't explain how hopelessly open they were throughout the first half, though; there was not just space in behind centre-halves Sergei Ignashevich and Vasili Berezutski, but also plenty of room between the midfield and the defence for Wales to exploit.

The second goal also came on the break as Bale set up Taylor, who required a second attempt to turn the ball home. As the graphic below illustrates, Wales were finding it easy to win back possession in the middle of the park and break forward quickly.

3) Passive possession

Russia struggled to create clear-cut chances all night, with Leonid Slutsky's side seeing plenty of the ball but doing very little with it.

Their passing was easy enough for Wales to contain, with a lack of movement in the final third compounding Russia's problems. Wales may not have had as much of the ball, but they were far more penetrative with it.

4) Bale leads charge

The Real Madrid man scored against both Slovakia and England but did not have much of an impact on either game from open play.

It was a different story on Monday night, with Bale a constant thorn in the Russians' side. He positioned himself intelligently behind midfielders Pavel Mamaev and Denis Glushakov without the ball, allowing him to run straight at centre-halves Ignashevich and Berezutski once Wales had handed him possession, and made the most of Sam Vokes' selfless movement alongside him.

Bale had eight shots in total, testing Akinfeev with six, and created numerous other chances for teammates. It was a fantastic all-round display.

5) Wales solid at the back

While Russia were not very inventive, Wales still deserve credit for recording their first ever European Championship clean sheet. Ashley Williams, Ben Davies and James Chester dealt with the aerial threat of Artem Dzyuba well - in fact, Wales were completely dominant against Russia in the air right across the pitch - while Joe Ledley did a fine shielding job in front of the back three.

Wing-backs Chris Gunter and Taylor, meanwhile, were sensible with their positioning, pushing forward when there was space to do so but ensuring they were behind the line of the ball when Russia were looking to find a way through.

6) Ramsey and Allen star

The two midfielders were excellent in the Welsh engine room, breaking up play adeptly and setting their team on the way with their sharp and accurate distribution. 

No-one on the pitch made more interceptions than Allen (four), while Ramsey played a team-high 69 passes. Both deserve huge credit for their tremendous performances.

Recap with our minute-by-minute • More Stats Zone analysis

STATS ZONE Free on iOS • Free on Android