GROUP B | RUSSIA-WALES
Gareth Bale has joined an elite group and is on fire with Wales
Gareth Bale has joined an elite group of players by scoring in every group game at the Euros, the Cardiff Express is in unstoppable form scoring 7 of Wales' last 13 goals.
Gareth Bale is on fire. His neat outside of-the-left-boot-flick finish past the hapless Akinfeev in the Russian goal puts him in an elite pack of players to have scored in every group game in the tournament. That prolific pack includes Michel Platini, Marco Van Basten and Ruud Van Nistelrooy.
Bale is in the form of his life, taking a scoring streak with him from the end of his season at Real Madrid into the Euros and inspiring Wales to the top of their group above England. Of the last 13 goals that Wales have scored, Gareth Bale has bagged 8. The rest were put away by Robson-Kanu (1 - the winner against Slovakia), Aaron Ramsey (3 - including the first against Russia, a delicious chip to open the scoring) and Taylor (1 - the other goal against Russia).
It is a little harsh to say that the Welsh team are passengers aboard the Cardiff Express, they have been solid at the back and Aaron Ramsey's performance against the Russians was particularly eye-catching, but Bale's influence is fundamental to the #StrongerTogether success story. Bale has scored three of their 6 tournament goals so far, putting him top of the scoring charts in this tournament so far.
Two of those three have come from free-kicks and Bale came close to etching his name into the Euro annals by almost scoring another against Russia, close to becoming the only player in the history of the continental competition to do so.
Bale has scored 2 of 4 free kicks at this competition, Cristiano Ronaldo has netted 0 of 36 attempts. Will Zidane be so sure about who takes the free-kicks at Real Madrid from now on?
For both club and country Gareth Bale has become a leader on and off the pitch, dealing with the media in a bolder, more confident manner and spreading the belief among his teammates that as long as he's on the pitch there's a chance. Who knows how far this Welsh team might go in Euro 2016.
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