This 137 year rivalry continues at Euro 2016 as The Three Lions trail Wales in Group B.
The Dragons gave themselves every opportunity of advancing to the knock out stage with a 2-1 win over Slovakia in their first game. Hal Robson-Kanu emerged from the bench to seal the winner late in the game after Garth Bale’s opener.
England put in a solid performance during a 1-1 draw with Russia in their first game of Euro 2016. Confidence was dealt a crushing blow though as they conceded a late equalizer after Eric Dier had put the Three Lions ahead.
Roy Hodgson is unlikely to make any changes to the side that earned a 1-1 draw with Russia where the result didn’t reflect the performance. Wayne Rooney should continue in a deeper midfield role in a 4-2-3-1. He gave a captain’s performance in the last game where the young England team seemed to lose composure when he was replaced with 10 minutes to go.
It is likely that Harry Kane will retain his spot as the focal point of England’s attack despite being ineffective versus the Russians. Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana will continue either side of him with Jamie Vardy pushing for a chance to show what he can do on the bench. The defense should stay unchanged due to a lack of options at center back and Rose and Walker both impressing against Russia.
Wales meanwhile will wait on goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey who faces a race to be fit after missing the win against Slovakia due to a back spasm. Back-up keeper Danny Ward played against Slovakia instead, though Wales boss Chris Coleman will be hoping his No.1 is fit to return against England.
Chris Coleman’s men will continue with e 5-3-2 formation that earned them a win in their first appearance in a major tournament since 1958. Johnny Williams is deployed as a defensive forward who scurries around closing down build up from the back. He does the dirty work for Gareth Bale to drift along the forward line who in turn makes space for onrushing midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen.
England will be touted as narrow favorites but Chris Coleman is using the tag of underdogs to his advantage. He maintains that Wales are building an identity on the world stage and believes that if they stay true to themselves they can get another three points.
“We don’t need to fear anybody. If we are ourselves it can be enough to get what we want,” he said.
Adding: “There’s nothing to be afraid of. Sometimes you are afraid of the unknown, but we just have to go about our business.”
On the other side, Roy Hodgson is looking to take the positives from the performance in the disappointing draw against Russia. He believes England performed well in that game which gives his side a lot of positives to take into the Wales tie.
“It was a bitter pill to swallow [Russia’s equalizing goal],” he said.
“There were a lot of things which happened out there that gave me satisfaction. I was satisfied with it. I thought we looked very good at times during the game,” he added.
The Group B tie will be the 102nd meeting between the two dominions. The history of clashes between England and Wales makes poor reading the Welsh. Out of the previous 101 matches England have won 66 and drawn 21. Wales have only beaten England 14 times in a 137-year history of football.
The last time the two sides met was in September 2011 in a qualification game for Euro 2012. England ran out 1-0 victors at Wembley in an instantly forgettable performance that put them in touching distance of Euro 2012 qualification.
The previous game in front of a raucous Millennium Stadium in Cardiff ended in similar fashion. Fabio Capello’s England silenced the passionate home support inside 14 minutes when England found themselves two up via goals from Frank Lampard and Darren Bent.
Wales qualified for Euro 2016 by finishing 2nd I their group, only 2 points behind Belgium golden generation. Gareth Bale top scored through qualifying with 7 goals as the Welshmen booked their tickets to France despite losing to Bosnia 2-0 in Zenica, their only qualifying defeat, in the final round of matches.
England qualified for Euro 2016 with a 100% win rate. England looked impressive in their three warm-up games as well where they won all three. Roy Hodgson’s men dispatched Turkey and Australia 2-1 each before beating Portugal 1-0 with a Chris Smalling header in the dying moments.
Wales’ preparation for Euro 2016 did not go quite so well. For an inexplicable the Welsh FA opted to paly one solitary warm –up game, which they lost emphatically, 3-0 to Sweden.
England: Hart; Walker, Cahill, Smalling, Rose; Alli, Dier, Rooney; Sterling, Kane, Lallana.
Wales: Ward; Gunter, Chester, A Williams, Davies, Taylor; Edwards, Allen, Ramsey, Williams; Bale.
England 2 – 1 Wales – 7/1
England 1 – 2 Wales – 18/1
England 1 – 1 Wales – 6/1
England 0 – 0 Wales – 9/1
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