Euro 2016: For Gareth Bale, Wales' win over Russia was one of his greatest nights
Toulouse: Wales forward Gareth Bale said the 3-0 victory over Russia, which helped them clinch a spot in the pre-quarterfinals of the European football Championship as winners of Group B, was one of the greatest matches of his career.
Gareth Bale. Pic/AFP
Bale followed Aaron Ramsey and Neil Taylor onto the scoresheet as Wales ripped through Russia on Monday to pip England to first place and set up a favourable last-16 fixture.
Bale, a two-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid, enthused afterwards that it ranked amongst the best moments he has known as a footballer.
"It's hard to describe. (It was) an unbelievable occasion and it's definitely right up there. I think, for the pressure of the game, the way we played was probably one of the best team performances I've been involved in," Bale told reporters after the win.
"Obviously we've had some amazing nights over the last few years [with Wales] but that was really incredible and to top the group as well was an even better feeling, and one that we want to keep having."
Wales had found themselves in a precarious position in the group after losing 1-2 to England in their last game. But Bale said that lessons learned in that defeat helped them tear apart Russia at the Stadium de Toulouse here.
"We said after the England game that we needed to keep the ball a lot better and we did that tonight," the Real Madrid star said.
"That obviously created space that made me and Rambo (Ramsey) and all the midfielders get on the ball more and, ultimately, when you do that, you get more opportunities to do what we do best," he added.
Wales will now have to sit and wait for the rest of the groups to be concluded before discovering their opponents in the round of 16 and Bale insisted that he has not yet thought about their next match.
"Where we were in the group, we could have finished last, we could have finished top, we could have finished second or third," he said.
"So we didn't really know and there are so many scenarios; I'm sure, when we get back to the hotel, we'll have a little look and see who we're going to get. Once we find out, we'll look at that game and that game only."