Roy Hodgson’s England face the Welsh in Lens needing to secure a win in order to revive their Euro 2016 campaign following a draw with Russia. On the other side, Chris Coleman’s men are bracing themselves for a tough challenge after an opening win over Slovakia.
The Three Lions were heading for a deserved victory against Russia on Saturday following Eric Dier’s free kick, but Vasili Berezutski managed to stun English and rescue a point in stoppage time to deny Roy Hodgson’s men at the opening of their 2016 European Championship finals campaign. England were dominants side throughout the match against Russia, but lack of composure in the crucial moments of the match cost Roy Hodgson’s men valuable points at the start of the tournament. With captain Wayne Rooney in his midfield role, England created all sorts of problems for Russia through the flanks, creating a lot of goal scoring opportunities. Having been denying deserved three points the Three Lions have thus ended their three-match winning run as they failed to step up their game when it was most needed. Sitting two points behind their neighbours after one game, England cannot afford to slip further behind if they want to qualify for the last 16. English have not been beaten by Welsh since 1984 and history is on their side with the Three Lions winning nine of the last ten encounters.
Roy Hodsgon will have a fully-fit squad to choose from with no fresh injury concerns regarding his starting line-up.
England boss could however opt to shuffle his deck and give Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy a chance from the start as he needs a change of pace up front. Jack Wilshere impressed during his substitute outing against Russia and could also be given a place in the starting line-up.
Wales got off to a great start to their Euro 2016 campaign with a 2-1 win over Slovakia. Gareth Bale scored after ten minutes to give Dragons an early lead in the game, but Duda struck at the hour mark to level the score and leave Welsh fearing for the win. Hal Robson-Kanu scored with ten minutes on the clock to award Chris Coleman’s side with a dramatic triumph and a major morale boost before a highly anticipated match against English. Thursday’s encounter will be the first between the two neighbouring nations at a major tournament and it is arguably the biggest meeting in the history of the football rivalry between the two countries. Led by Real Madrid star Gareth Bale, Dragons are hoping to write history in Lens in what will surely be a feisty derby. Welsh will be heading into the game looking to secure a win that will almost guarantee them a place in the knockouts as Chris Coleman’s men are currently sitting in the driving seat. Having waited 58 years to return to a major tournament, Wales are particularly motivated to make their Euro 2016 campaign a successful one and a win over England would get them one step closer to realising their dream.
Chris Coleman is unlikely to change the team that started the match against Slovakia, with Ramsey, Allen and Bale all expected to lead the team forward.
Wales boss continues to sweat over the fitness of first-choice goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, who missed the opener due to a back spasm. Back-up keeper Danny Ward is ready to fill in once again.
Key Factors to Consider
- England ended a three-match winning run with a draw against Russia
- Wales are back at the major tournament after 58 years
- Three Lions haven’t lost to Dragons since 1984
- English have won 9 of their last 10 meetings with the Welsh
- Wales have won only one of their last 5 matches
Meeting between England and Wales will be more of a Premier League encounter than an international duel with many of players at both sides of the pitch playing for either same teams or in the same league. It is a clash that will be written in history of the game with Wales returning to a major tournament after almost sixty years. Their desire to succeed could be a major boost in the highly anticipated clash against Wales, but it could also prove to be a stumbling block in this neighbouring derby.