Football betting: Take classier Welsh to breach Northern Ireland’s sturdy defence

 
Ben Cleminson
Russia v Wales - Group B: UEFA Euro 2016
Gareth Bale (back) and Aaron Ramsey have scored four goals and provided two assists between them (Source: Getty)

Having claimed temporary bragging rights over neighbours England by topping Group B, I’m backing Wales to cause further hurt for fellow home nation Northern Ireland in their Euro 2016 knockout tie tomorrow.

Wales have come on massively over the last five years and it’s no fluke that they are in the last 16 of a major tournament.

Chris Coleman’s men are ranked 96 places higher than they were in October 2011, and in that same month last year were the eighth best team in Fifa’s world rankings.

Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey have been the driving force behind that meteoric rise and they’ve both impressed during this tournament.

Bale has scored in all three of Wales’s group games and Ramsey has contributed two assists and a goal.

Saturday's opposition may not have reached that level of class but they certainly make up for it with their team spirit and work ethic.

Only six of Northern Ireland’s 23-man squad play in England’s top-flight and they’re patched together in places by League One and League Two players.

That hasn’t stopped them from making it difficult for Europe’s elite, though.

Michael O’Neill’s men have only conceded twice against stiff opposition in Germany, Poland and Ukraine, working tirelessly to earn a vital three points over the last of those.

On that evidence, Wales will find it tricky to break them down or find a way past Michael McGovern.

Northern Ireland’s goalkeeper has made a staggering 15 saves so far and, assuming he remains in that kind of form, selling Total Goals at 1.9 with Sporting Index looks a good bet.

Having said that, Wales are the joint highest scorers in the group stages and they look the most likely of the two to find the back of the net.

They’re a classier outfit; comfortable in possession as well as potent on the counter, and deadly from set pieces.

Take Betway’s evens about a Wales win and the 15/4 with the same firm on a 1-0 scoreline.

Pointers

Sell Total Goals 1.9 (Sporting Index)

Wales Evens (Betway)

Wales 1-0 15/4 (Betway)

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