Gareth Bale Chris Gunter Wales
Gareth Bales celebrates the opening goal of the Euro 2016 match between Wales and Slovakia, June 11, 2016Reuters

In the clash of the European Championships debutants, it was Wales who came out smelling of roses after Hal Robson-Kanu scored a late winner in a dramatic Euro 2016 Group B match in Bordeaux. After it looked like Gareth Bale's sumptuous freekick would only earn Wales a point following a brilliant equaliser from Ondrej Duda, Robson-Kanu, the substitute, had the final say, and how.

Wales showed they are a team to be reckoned with in this Euro 2016, playing smart, controlled football, while having enough of that cutting edge, largely through Bale. In a match where the substitutes changed the course of the game, it was Chris Coleman's decision to bring on Robson-Kanu for the excellent Jonny Williams that did the trick, with the Reading man forcing a left-footed effort nine minutes from time off a toe-poked pass from Aaron Ramsey to send the red half at the Stade de Bordeaux into uncontrolled delight.

Bale gave Wales an early 10th minute lead, firing a freekick from 25 yards that swerved and swung like a snake doing its dance to completely bamboozle the Slovakia goalkeeper Matus Kozacik, who moved one way, before realising, all too late, the ball had swerved the other to thump into the net.

Before that, though, Slovakia would have been 1-0 ahead if not for some outstanding defending from Ben Davies. With Marek Hamsik stealing the ball from Bale and then going on a mazy run to leave a fair few Wales defenders behind, before striking the ball over the Wales goalkeeper Danny Ward and towards the target, Davies, anticipating the danger, ran back and somehow prevented the ball from rippling the net. Hamsik could not quite believe he hadn't scored and from there, Slovakia's most important player faded.

Wales, though, did not exactly take the game by the scruff of the neck either after going into the lead, with the match going into the cagey stage all the way through to halftime, with the only big incident being the one involving Martin Skrtel and Jonny Williams, when the former seemed to elbow the Wales man while trying to prevent him from getting to the ball. On another day, it would have been a red card and a penalty. But, Skrtel, who always walks that fine line, got away with that one and a few more after that as well.

The second half saw Slovakia take a little bit more control, particularly after Duda gave them the lead, seconds after coming onto the pitch. While the finish from Duda was good, a reverse slot with his left foot, the goal was made by a brilliant run from Robert Mak, who powered his way past one Wales player after another before perfectly picking out his teammate to apply the necessary finish.

From there it looked like Slovakia would go on and win the match as Wales went deeper and deeper, inviting pressure from their opponents. However, Slovakia could not find that winner, and Wales would punish them for that, courtesy Robson-Kanu.

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