After England and Wales both qualified for the round of 16 from Group B, we look back at what was certainly the most tense group of the tournament.
The Welsh sprung quite the shock by winning the group, but their tactical flexibility and squad togetherness shone through as they won two out of three games to advance to the next round. After "58 years of hurt" were ended by qualification for Euro 2016, arguably the best generation of Welsh footballers ever will have high hopes of reaching the quarter finals after proving they can be stubborn in defence and ruthless in attack. In punishing the woeful Russians on Monday evening they capped a memorable group phrase which sees them as the current leading scorers in the tournament, with star Gareth Bale leading the charts with three. His two free kicks may not have been all that great, but if you hit the target you always have a chance (yes Ronaldo, I'm looking at you). Despite a bruising loss to rivals England the Welsh secured top spot and will be excited for the next round.
Whilst many will say that second place isn't good enough and the lack of goals is worrying, there are plenty of positives for England too. It is a long time since they looked creative and competent going forward and they dominated all three games so completely that it was somewhat surprising they didn't win all three. The first game against the Russians was two points dropped thanks to some sloppy last minute defending (and not bad luck as some would have you believe) and the game against Slovakia was so one-sided, with so many England chances, that it is hard to believe that it managed to end 0-0. England will fancy their chances in the round of 16 against the runner-up of Group F and should fear no one if they keep playing with such freedom and continue to dominate games so convincingly.
The Slovakians look good value for a place in the round of 16 and were content to play for the 0-0 draw against England in the final game to secure it. That infuriated many England fans and, in my opinion, should also have annoyed the Slovakian fans too. They have a reasonably talented squad, particularly in attack, which has been blunted by a satisfaction to play for third. Marek Hamsik is the undoubted star of the show but he was limited to a very isolated figure against England as his supporting cast were withdrawn one by one. He was the creative force against Wales and Russia and almost scored what could have been the goal of the tournament if it wasn't for a heroic sliding block by Neil Taylor on the Welsh goal line. If they are a little more adventurous in the next round they could reap the rewards. An underdog.
Hooligan violence, a team in disarray and a pathetic showing in their last competitive game before hosting the World Cup in two years time. The Russians were lucky to leave the group with one point after a late equaliser against England and were completely and embarrassingly outplayed by the Welsh in their final game. If it wasn't for the Slovakians easing off in the final 20 minutes they probably wouldn't have scored in that game either. A poor display from a poor team with many questions, both on and off the field, to answer before they host the greatest tournament on the planet in 2018.
This is where it all begins. Our resident analysts study the unrecognised players and examine the matches that are of interest across Europe.