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Wales 2 - Slovakia 1

Saturday, 11th June

Wales and Slovakia both appeared in the European Championship finals for the first time, although eight Slovaks did play in the 1976 Czechoslovakia winning team, in Yugoslavia.

Wayne Hennessey woke up in the morning with a back spasm and would miss the Bordeaux opener.

So much depends on Gareth Bale, for Wales, or  Marek Hamsik, for Slovakia, but it is a team game and football is played over two halves.

As in the two previous games, France vs Romania and Albania vs Switzerland, the game started with an early chance.

In the fourth minute, Slovakia's Marek Hamsik ran through - or around - five players in red shirts and beat the keeper with his strike at goal; only to be denied by great covering from Ben Davies.

Five minutes later, it was the turn of the welsh talisman. Gareth Bale's left-footed free-kick dipped over the Slovakia wall and to the right of Matus Kozacik; who, for some reason, had taken a step to his left and couldn't recover quick enough. The Slovak gamble failed.

That goal gave Wales the commanding position they needed, but it could have been so different.

Despite increasing the pressure before the break, Slovakia failed to level the score but were lucky to still have their captain, Martin Skrtel, on the pitch; and in the process conceding a penalty.

Half-time: Wales 1 - Slovakia 0

An unbelievable first 45 minutes for Wales, but not unexpected with a motto of 'Together Stronger'.

Just after the hour mark, Slovakian substitute, Ondrej Duda let the low pass from Robert Mak, on the right, run across his body and the three welsh centre-halves. The Legia Warsaw midfielder waited for the right moment to score with his first touch; in his first ever match, in a tournament for his country.

The atmosphere in the ground started to resonate. Game on.

Patience paid off for Wales and another substitution made the difference; as Aaron Ramsey slipped the ball past Martin Skrtel, for Hal Robson-Kanu to knock it in with his shin.

Group B in Bordeaux.

Travel to Wales Travel to Slovakia

Final Score: Wales 2 - Slovakia 1

1:0 (Gareth Bale, 10)
1:1 (Ondrej Duda, 61)
2:1 (Hal Robson-Kanu, 81)

21-Danny Ward;
5-James Chester, 6-Ashley Williams, 4-Ben Davies;
2-Chris Gunter, 14-David Edwards, 7-Joe Allen, 10-Aaron Ramsey, 3-Neil Taylor;
20-Jonny Williams, 11-Gareth Bale.

23-Matus Kozacik;
2-Peter Pekarik, 3-Martin Skrtel, 4-Jan Durica, 18-Dusan Svento;
19-Juraj Kucka, 13-Patrik Hrosovsky, 20-Robert Mak, 17-Marek Hamsik;
7-Vladimir Weiss, 21-Michal Duris.

Euro 2016 in France.

Michel - Founder of TravelNotes.org and Meta-Travel.com