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Preview: Wales v Northern Ireland

Debutants Wales and Northern Ireland meet in an all-British tie in Paris with both coaches expecting a tough encounter against opponents they faced as recently as March.

Wales get a feel for the Parc des Princes
Wales get a feel for the Parc des Princes ©Getty Images
  • Wales are unbeaten in their last eight matches against Northern Ireland since 1980
  • The teams drew 1-1 in a March friendly, Simon Church cancelling out Craig Cathcart's opener
  • Wales won Group B ahead of England in their first EURO finals campaign
  • Fellow debutants Northern Ireland qualified for the last 16 as a best third-placed side
  •  Gareth Bale is the joint three-goal top scorer at UEFA EURO 2016
  • Winners face Hungary or Belgium

Possible line-ups
Wales: Hennessey; Gunter, Chester, Williams, Davies, Taylor; Allen, Ledley; Ramsey, Bale; Robson-Kanu.
Will miss quarter-finals with booking: Vokes, Davies

Nothern Ireland: McGovern; Hughes, McAuley, Cathcart, J Evans; Baird, Davis, Norwood, Ward, Dallas; Lafferty.
Will miss quarter-finals with booking: Cathcart, Dalas, J Evans, Ward

Watch: Bale can't wait

Coach quotes
Chris Coleman, Wales manager
The last performance was outstanding, but it's all about tomorrow. We can't think about anything else. [Northern Ireland] are strong, physical, very well-organised and have a good team spirit. This is tournament football. Both teams find themselves in a position where they've earned respect and attention, and it's the attention we've always wanted.

There's not a team in this tournament who can think past the next game. Nine times out of ten, the games are very close. It's one game and it's all about tomorrow. It's about getting our mind right.

Michael O'Neill, Northern Ireland manager
Wales won their group, they're in a good place – a great performance against Russia in particular which we've watched back – so we expect a tough game. The teams know each other very well, we obviously played each other in March and drew 1-1. But it's a game we believe we can come through, but we expect a very tough game.

The players were really upbeat knowing we would be coming back to the Parc des Princes. We've played here obviously on Tuesday night against the world champions and I think the experience of doing that will serve us well come the game tomorrow night. We'll have to be at our best, it will be a different type of game.

Lafferty strikes confident note

UEFA.com team reporters
Mark Pitman, Wales (@UEFAcomMPitman)
Coleman shuffled his pack throughout the group stage and is likely to make at least one change again despite the quality of the performance against Russia. Hal Robson-Kanu, Sam Vokes and Jonny Williams have all played in attack along with Gareth Bale and any could start against Northern Ireland. The all-important back five will stay consistent, with the tireless Joe Allen in midfield sure to relish this all-British affair.

Graham Little, Northern Ireland (@UEFAcomGrahamL)
Although O'Neill's team selections have proved very difficult to predict, I expect he will tinker with his starting line-up given the different nature of this challenge. He will be expecting a much tighter, physical match against Wales and may bring the experienced Chris Baird back into his familiar role just in front of the defence. With chances likely at either end, he may decide he needs his leading scorer on from the start, so Kyle Lafferty could return.

Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)
Northern Ireland: LWLDWWDWDW

Did you know?
Wales have had the better of the countries' 95 encounters: W44 D24 L27. The Welsh are also unbeaten in the last eight of those matches (W4 D4), a run dating back to a 1-0 win for Northern Ireland in the 1980 Home International Championship. Read more in our extensive match background.

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