Wales are on the verge of qualifying for their first major championship since 1958 after beating Cyprus 1-0 on Thursday in Nicosia.
Real Madrid star Gareth Bale scored the lone goal of the game as Wales took a huge step towards qualifying for Euro 2016 in France next summer. Wales top Group B on 17 points after seven games. Bale & Co. are three points ahead of second-placed Belgium and five points ahead of third-placed Israel.
If Wales beats Israel in Cardiff on Sunday, they will be guaranteed a spot in the tournament. The last time Wales took part in a major international tournament was the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. Wales have steadily been climbing the FIFA rankings and is currently ranked 9th in the world as the new rankings were released on Thursday.
England dropped two positions and is now ranked 10th. This is the first time ever that Wales is ranked above England, so Welsh soccer fans have more than just the victory over Cyprus to celebrate.
Bale has been the standout star of this Welsh side, as the 26-year-old winger has scored some extremely important goals for the national team. The goal against Cyprus is a perfect example of this as Bale stormed in a powerful header in the 82nd minute.
What a header by Gareth Bale… pic.twitter.com/vb9IywlbHK
— Unbelievable Jeff (@UnbelievabJeff) September 3, 2015
Bale has scored six goals in seven games, including game winners against Andorra and Belgium. Wales has scored a total of nine goals in the qualifiers. He is tied for second in the Golden Boot race, one goal behind Germany’s Robert Lewandowski.