The defender scored the own goal which sent his country crashing out of the tournament and was then taken for a compulsory drugs test
Gareth McAuley is “angry” with UEFA after red tape denied him an emotional farewell with Northern Ireland’s amazing fans.
McAuley’s dismay at scoring a late own goal to send Wales into the quarter-final was compounded by being hauled off after the final whistle for a compulsory drugs test.
The West Brom defender admits it is heartbreaking as he is considering retiring from international football this summer and wanted to thank their fans.
McAuley, 36, who diverted in Gareth Bale’s cross with Hal Robson-Kanu lurking, said: “It was a great ball but being taken away for a drugs test was cruel.
“I was disappointed and angry with that. But the rules are the rules and I was selected to do it.
“I would liked to have gone out again but it was Sods Law. I don’t like to lord it up, it is not me, but I would liked to have gone out there and said: ‘thank you’.
“I will take that on the chin as well and move on.”
McAuley has 65 caps for his country and now has a big decision whether he continues for Michael O’Neill’s side in World Cup qualifying.
“Sometimes the head has to rule the heart over these decisions,” he added