European Championship Qualifying - Group B
IsraelIsrael0WalesWales3

Israel 0-3 Wales

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Wales Sport
Gareth Bale
Bale provided the perfect response to his recent problems at Real Madrid
  • Wales top Group B thanks to comprehensive win
  • Gareth Bale scores his 15th and 16th goals for Wales
  • Aaron Ramsey gets his ninth international goal
  • Wales next face Belgium at home in June

Wales leapfrogged Israel at the top of their Euro 2016 qualifying group as two goals from Gareth Bale inspired a hugely impressive win that leaves them well placed to reach next summer's finals in France.

Manager Chris Coleman had described this match as Wales' most important since the Euro 2004 play-off defeat by Russia in 2003.

And with three wins and two draws from their first five matches, this is Wales' best start to a campaign since that ill-fated bid 12 years ago as they attempt to reach a first major finals since the 1958 World Cup.

Victory against an Israeli side who had won all three of their previous qualifiers must rank as the finest of Coleman's three-year tenure.

The visitors had the better of the first half in Haifa and took a deserved lead as Aaron Ramsey headed in from Bale's flick-on just before the break.

The Real Madrid star doubled their advantage with a superb, swerving free-kick from the edge of the area soon after the restart and, a minute later, Israel's Eytan Tibi picked up a second booking for fouling Bale as Wales took control.

He then added a final gloss with a sweeping finish late on as Coleman's side moved two points clear at the summit of Group B.

Wary of their in-form opponents and a hostile atmosphere at a packed Sammy Ofer Stadium, Coleman reverted to a 5-3-2 formation that allowed him to give Bale a roaming role in attack.

As ever, much of the pre-match build-up revolved around the 25-year-old, whose indifferent recent club form had drawn fierce criticism in Spain.

Bale seemed undeterred, however, as he tormented Israel with a fabulous display.

After sending a fizzing low shot narrowly wide, Bale fashioned Wales' first real chance as his inviting cross found James Collins unmarked at the far post - but the West Ham defender trod on the ball when it seemed easier to score.

There were some early scares for Wales, with Israel's attacking midfielders Tal Ben Haim - whose namesake and Charlton captain was also playing for the hosts in central defence - and Eran Zahavi dangerous from wide positions.

But the visitors were seldom seriously troubled, and their pressure eventually produced the opening goal moments before the break.

Goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey's long ball was headed on by Bale for Ramsey, whose looping header deceived Ofir Marciano to silence Haifa's hitherto hostile crowd.

It took less than five minutes of the second half for Bale to get himself on the score sheet.

Fouled right on the edge of the area by Tibi, the world's most expensive player produced a fierce, dipping shot from the resultant free-kick to send around 950 travelling Welsh supporters into raptures.

Just a minute later, Israel's fate was sealed when Tibi body-checked Bale and was sent off for a second yellow card.

From that point, Wales were barely without the ball as the Israeli fans fell silent.

Their misery was compounded with 13 minutes left, as Ramsey glided into the box and found Bale, whose sweet first-time finish flew past Marciano to crown a memorable night for Wales.

Israel v Wales - the teams line up before the match
Wales were unbeaten in five Group B qualifying matches going into the match in Haifa
Garth Bale and Aaron Ramsey
Bale set up Ramsey for a ninth international goal to give Wales the lead on the stroke of half-time
Garth Bale scores for Wales
Bale struck with a curling free-kick after he had been fouled on the edge of the Israel area
Wales boss Chris Coleman
After the 3-0 win, Coleman described his team's performance as "brave and wonderful".
Gareth Bale
Wales return to competitive action at home to Belgium in June

Line-ups

Israel

  • 18Marciano
  • 19Dgani
  • 3Ben Haim
  • 21TibiBooked at 51mins
  • 20Ben Harush
  • 6Natcho
  • 13Yeini
  • 7ZahaviSubstituted forSaharat 71'minutes
  • 9RefaelovBooked at 44mins
  • 22DamariSubstituted forHemedat 44'minutes
  • 12Ben HaimSubstituted forBittonat 60'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Harosh
  • 2Dasa
  • 4Bitton
  • 5Gershon
  • 8Hemed
  • 10Barda
  • 11Shechter
  • 14Sahar
  • 15Tawatha
  • 16Kayal
  • 17Bar Buzaglo
  • 23Haimov

Wales

  • 1Hennessey
  • 19Collins
  • 6Williams
  • 5Davies
  • 2Gunter
  • 7Allen
  • 16LedleySubstituted forVaughanat 48'minutes
  • 3Taylor
  • 11Bale
  • 10RamseySubstituted forMacDonaldat 86'minutes
  • 9Robson-KanuSubstituted forVokesat 69'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Edwards
  • 8Cotterill
  • 12Williams
  • 13MacDonald
  • 14Church
  • 15Vokes
  • 17Lawrence
  • 18Ricketts
  • 20John
  • 21Ward
  • 22Vaughan
  • 23Henley
Referee:
Milorad Mazic

Match Stats

Home TeamIsraelAway TeamWales
Possession
Home47%
Away53%
Shots
Home5
Away18
Shots on Target
Home3
Away5
Corners
Home2
Away3
Fouls
Home7
Away11

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Israel 0, Wales 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Israel 0, Wales 3.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Gareth Bale (Wales) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Sam Vokes.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Ashley Williams (Wales).

  5. Post update

    Tommer Hemed (Israel) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  6. Post update

    Attempt missed. Sam Vokes (Wales) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Gareth Bale.

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, Wales. Shaun MacDonald replaces Aaron Ramsey.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Wales. Conceded by Ofir Marciano.

  9. Post update

    Attempt saved. Gareth Bale (Wales) left footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Chris Gunter.

  10. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Sam Vokes (Wales) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Neil Taylor.

  11. Post update

    Corner, Israel. Conceded by Wayne Hennessey.

  12. Post update

    Attempt saved. Ben Sahar (Israel) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Bebras Natcho.

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Tommer Hemed (Israel) right footed shot from more than 35 yards misses to the left.

  14. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  15. Post update

    Delay in match Nir Bitton (Israel) because of an injury.

  16. Goal!

    Goal! Israel 0, Wales 3. Gareth Bale (Wales) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Aaron Ramsey.

  17. Post update

    Sam Vokes (Wales) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Nir Bitton (Israel).

  19. Post update

    Attempt saved. Sam Vokes (Wales) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

  20. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Sam Vokes (Wales) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Joe Allen with a through ball.

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Saturday 28th March 2015

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