Aaron Ramsey-inspired Wales thrashed Russia to advance as Group B winners.
Goals from Neil Taylor, Ramsey and Bale saw the Welsh run out 3-0 winners, enough to win the group as England were held by Slovakia.
Chris Coleman’s side knew that a win would see them into the Last 16, while the Russians were staring down the barrel of elimination.
Wales took the lead with just over 10 minutes played. James Chester intercepted the ball in midfield, allowing Joe Allen to play a perfect pass to Aaron Ramsey.
The Arsenal man still had plenty to do, but he took a fantastic touch before dinking the ball over the onrushing Akinfeev.
It was 2-0 shortly after. Neil Taylor hasn’t scored in almost 150 appearances for Swansea, and it initially showed when got in behind the Russian defence.
The wing-back hit his initial shot straight at Akinfeev, but converted the rebound when it fell at his feet.
Bale had appeals for a penalty waved away on the half hour mark, but in truth it would have been soft.
Dmitri Kombarov put in a fantastic cross which no-one could get on the end of, and Akinfeev saved from Bale on the resulting counter.
Bale was causing havoc in the Russian defence, and he got the goal his performance deserved on 67 minutes.
Ramsey once again played the ball through, the offside Sam Vokes didn’t go for it and Bale arrived to poke home his third goal of the tournament.
Russia 0-3 Wales
Ramsey 11 (W) Taylor 20 (W) Bale 67 (W)
Russia: Akinfeev; Smolnikov, Ignashevic, V. Berezutski (A. Berezutski, 46), Kombarov; Mamaev, Glushakov; Shirokov (Golovin, 52), Kokorin, Smolov (Samedov, 70); Dzyuba
Wales: Hennessey; Chester, A. Williams, Davies; Gunter, Allen (Edwards, 74), Ledley (King, 76), Ramsey, Taylor; Vokes, Bale (Church, 83)
Referee: Eriksson [SWE]
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