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Royals Duo On The Verge Of History

Wales took a giant step towards reaching Euro 2016 last night and once again two Reading FC players were at the heart of the Dragons side.

Stu Forster/Getty Images

It was all rather familiar. Once again the best British team struggled against less heralded opposition, performing well under par yet once again securing a win that will likely see them qualify for a major tournament. Except this time it was Wales!

Yes you read that right. A country that finished the game with Simon Church and Shaun MacDonald (how many of you can name who he plays for?) on the pitch is ranked higher than England. A historic day for Welsh football started with the new FIFA rankings confirming that Wales had maintained their place as the ninth best international team in the world but their neighbours had slipped below them for the first time ever.

There were doubts going into the game that Reading forward Hal Robson-Kanu would be available after he limped off at half-time in the Royals' victory over Brentford at the weekend. Robson-Kanu was passed fit though allowing him to be the centre forward in a three man attack with Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey. James Chester missed out meaning Reading right back Chris Gunter played his second consecutive game as part of a three man Wales defence.

Wales had the better of the first half with Cyprus rarely threatening a makeshift (any area becomes makeshift for Wales if one player is missing) defence. Robson-Kanu's first half performance was praised by Sky co-commentator, and Stoke City Assistant Manager, Mark Bowen. His hardwork, strength and tactical discipline were all on display and further evidence of him becoming Wales' and, since Steve Clarke took over, Reading's Park Ji-Sung. An attacking player loved by managers because of his dirty work rather than his skill.

Unfortunately a harshly given foul by Robson-Kanu meant a Dave Edwards header was ruled out just before half time. After the break Cyprus played much deeper and the game went into a midfield stupor. Robson-Kanu was replaced on 68 minutes by Sam Vokes.

The game had 0-0 written all over it and would have finished that way but for one man. The man. Gareth Bale! England fans can mock Wales for being a one man team, some might even wish Bale was English (sadly for them Bale doesn't), but no one with Welsh roots cares. The best British player's goal means Wales need just one victory to qualify for Euro 2016 and given that they finish with a home match against Andorra it is surely a foregone conclusion.

The Tilehurst End was hoping to have a live reporter at Wales' next game against Israel on Sunday but the editor who will be attending has already said he goes to football to watch football and not to go on his mobile. The rest of the editors are already sick of all these Welsh glory hunters so are quite happy for him to act like it's 1958!