Media Centre

9-2 Bale aims to be Euro 2016's Golden boy

GARETH BALE always knew he would need a big tournament to give Wales a chance of going deep at Euro 2016 and the Real Madrid magician has delivered.

Three goals in three matches helped Wales to top Group B and Chris Coleman’s side are odds-on favourites to progress past Northern Ireland in Saturday’s last-16 clash at the Parc des Princes.

Keeping Bale quiet will be Northern Ireland’s most difficult task with Bale joint-top of the goalscoring charts alongside Spain’s Alvaro Morata and the former Southampton and Tottenham man is favourite to finish as the leading marksman.

Bale heads the market at 9-2 from 5-1 poke Morata, although the Welshman is 14-1 to end up landing the player of the tournament market which sees Dimitri Payet favourite at 5-1.

Andres Iniesta (7-1) and Cristiano Ronaldo (12-1) are the two other players ahead of Bale in the betting, while just behind him comes Paul Pogba at 16-1.

Paddy Power rate Bale 5-2 to pick up the Uefa man of the match award against Northern Ireland and he is 7-5 with 188Bet to score at any stage of what looks sure to be a party in the Parc between two sets of supporters who have made plenty of noise at Euro 2016.

Northern Ireland keeper Michael McGovern was the hero for his country despite the 1-0 defeat to Germany on Tuesday as he kept the score respectable to make sure Michael O’Neill’s men qualified for the last 16 as one of the best third-placed outfits.

Betway are 4-6 that McGovern makes at least four saves against Wales and 11-10 he is forced into work on no more than three occasions.

England will be looking to make the goalkeeper work more than they have done so far in Euro 2016 when the Three Lions face Iceland in their last-16 tie in Nice on Monday with Roy Hodgson still pondering his team selection for the contest.

Harry Kane, who faced up to the media on Friday and insisted he was not feeling drained from a long season at club level, is 1-3 with Betway to win back his position in the starting 11.

Jamie Vardy is 4-6 to get the nod and Daniel Sturridge, the match winner against Wales but substituted against Slovakia, is 5-4 to maintain his starting place.

Ireland take on hosts France on Sunday with a doubt over the fitness of left-back Stephen Ward, who missed training on Friday. However, there was some good news for Martin O’Neill after Jon Walters took part in the session.

The last 16 starts on Saturday and bet365’s outright Euro 2016 penalty payback concession remains in place for punters who will have their stakes returned if the team they back is eliminated via a penalty shootout.