Date: Thursday, 16th June, 2016
Time: 14.00pm BST
Venue: Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens
England are looking for a vital three points this afternoon to get their Euro 2016 campaign up-and-running versus local neighbours Wales at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens. The bookies fancy England to see off Wales but will need their strikers to start firing if they are to get past the group stages.
The Three Lions were underwhelming in their opening draw against a weak Russian opposition which saw the team create limited good opportunities.
Wales made an impressive European Championship debut with a 2-1 win over Slovakia to top Group B ahead of their second match. Victory would ensure a top place finish after Slovakia beat Russia 2-1 yesterday. England start the day in third.
Roy Hodgson’s side are under pressure to collect all three points against Wales to prevent themselves going into into their final group game needing a win versus Slovakia to progress, and to put the opportunity of winning the group into their hands.
Raheem Sterling came under heavy criticism against Russia so it will be interesting to see if Hodgson sticks with the Manchester City forward. Harry Kane failed to get a single touch of the ball inside the opposition penalty area in their first game and was even taking corners for the national team. The Tottenham striker took six on Saturday with no success, having only taken seven throughout the whole of the 2015-16 Premier League campaign. He lacked service up front and will need support against a compact Wales defence.
We expect to see Sterling benched with Jamie Vardy potentially coming in to play a 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-2 formation. Ross Barkley is a less likely option on the left. It is also believed that Daniel Sturridge is in contention to start.
Sturridge could replace Adam Lallana on the right as his fellow Liverpool teammate was wasteful in the opening half hour on Saturday before going quiet for the remainder of the game. He did put a good shift in off the ball though. James Milner is another option on the right if Hodgson wants to make a change here.
Don’t expect any changes to the England defence. There are no injury concerns and they played well up until stoppage time. Kyle Walker and Danny Rose had a lot to offer bombing forward and their width versus Wales could be very useful, especially with Adam Lallana or Daniel Sturridge cutting inside from the right.
Wales were without first-choice goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey with a minor back injury for their win over Slovakia but the Crystal Palace man is available to replace Danny Ward today. This means Wales have a full team to pick from.
A draw would be a fine result for Wales meaning they can afford to sit back and play counter-attack football. Don’t expect Chris Coleman to change from his 3-5-1-1 formation with Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey notable players to hurt England on the break.
Bale has a free role in this side and is capable of dropping into space down either wings when Walker and Rose are out of position. The Real Madrid star loves to run at defences and has the ability to really hurt England in this match. Joe Hart needs to be weary of his long range shots and he is a threat from direct free kicks. He hit the target with all five of his attempts versus Slovakia, scoring the opening goal.
England v Wales Odds
England vs Wales: Team News
England Team News
Roy Hodgson has no injuries in the camp but Harry Kane did look tired in the second half versus Russia. The attention is on Raheem Sterling after a dismal first game and is widely-expected to be dropped for this game. Wayne Rooney is set to continue in the centre of midfield after an impressive opener so the only expected changes are in attack.
Wales Team News
Wayne Hennessey should be back between the sticks for this match whilst Hal Robson-Kanu could get a start up front after coming off the bench to score the winner in Wales’ first game. Chris Coleman has a full squad to pick from.
Possible Starting Lineups
England predicted XI: Joe Hart; Kyle Walker, Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling, Danny Rose; Wayne Rooney, Eric Dier, Dele Alli; Daniel Sturridge, Jamie Vardy, Adam Lallana
Wales predicted XI: Wayne Hennessey; James Chester, Ashley Williams, Ben Davies; Chris Gunter, Dave Edwards, Joe Allen, Aaron Ramsey, Neil Taylor; Gareth Bale; Hal Robson-Kanu
0 – Harry Kane had zero touches inside the Russia penalty area on Saturday.
5 – Gareth Bale hit the target with all five of his shots versus Slovakia.
25% – Roy Hodgson has only won two of his eight matches as England manager at major international tournaments (D4, L2).
Prediction: England 2-1 Wales