Wales's Gareth Bale, left, shakes hands with Wales coach Chris Coleman during the Euro 2016 Group B soccer match between Russia and Wales at the Stadium municipal in Toulouse, France, Monday, June 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
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Two small British nations clash for the momentous prize of a Euro 2016 quarter-final berth Saturday when Gareth Bale's Wales meet Northern Ireland in a post-Brexit clash in Paris.While the teams qualified in very different ways -- Wales striding into the knockout phase as group winners, Northern Ireland squeezing through as the fourth of the four best third-placed teams -- both had reason to thank their lucky stars for the serendipity of the draw.With no previous major competition winners among the eight teams in the top half of the tournament, the odds on a team emulating Greece's underdog triumph at Euro 2004 have shortened considerably.Indeed, both Bale and Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty have expressed belief that their respective teams can go all the way.Both countries have produced football greats, but Northern Ireland's George Best and Wales's Ryan Giggs were condemned to the same fate of shining for Manchester United but never gracing a major international tournament.
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