After dropping two points against Russia, Roy Hodgson desperately need three points if they wish to leapfrog Wales to top of the group and potentially avoid France in the next round. Will Burns thinks the Three Lions can do it, and do it comfortably in an entertaining match.
Thursday 16th June 2016 – 14:00 BST
EURO 2016 – GROUP B
WALES vs. ENGLAND
A last minute lapse in concentration cost England the win against Russia and they will be under fierce pressure looking to bounce back against neighbours Wales on Thursday afternoon. In contrast, the Welsh will have surely secured last-16 football with a point in this game after Saturday’s 2-1 win over Slovakia.
England boss Hodgson will have a fully-fit squad to choose from with no injury concerns, though he faces a tough decision on whether to start Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy. He was an unused substitute in the 1-1 draw with Russia, and England’s lack of composure in front of goal despite a number of chances could see the 29-year-old handed the opportunity to impress. He may slot in the three-pronged attack at the expense of Adam Lallana or Raheem Sterling.
Without Vardy against Russia, England dominated for a major spell of the game and if they duplicate their performance against Wales, they be leaving Lens with three points. One of the main reasons for such a strong performance was the midfield pairing of Eric Dier and Wayne Rooney. Defensive midfielder Dier was like a brick wall and also came up with a free-kick goal when needed. Rooney, usually a forward, was superb in the unfamiliar midfield role, grafting back and also linking up attacking play. Both will be vital in Thursday’s game.
Wales stopper Wayne Hennessey faces a race to find fitness after missing out at the weekend due to a back spasm. Back-up keeper Danny Ward impressed against Slovakia, though Wales coach Chris Coleman will be hoping his number one is fit to return against their home nation’s rival.
Wales were disciplined in defence with risky attacks against Slovakia and will need to employ the same attitude if wish to gain anything from this game. Three at the back, supported by two holding midfielders will be difficult to break down however England have the talent in Dele Alli to do so. I see England picking up the win and finally get their tournament challenge underway. This should be an entertaining encounter with Wales well capable of hitting any team on the break and Gareth Bale is a dead-ball specialist. England will have to be very wary of both factors, but they have enough in the team to claim the win.
If you’re betting… good luck!
TIP: England to win (1.60 at StanJames.com)
TIP: Correct Score – Wales 0-2 England (7.00 at BetVictor)