Daniel Sturridge’s injury-time winner against Wales in Lens has given England camp a renewed belief as they look to qualify from Group B where Roy Hodgson’s men need a draw against Slovakia on Monday to progress through to the last 16.
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It’s a tricky situation. Both Wales and Slovakia are tied on 3 points, and if both win their respective games, England could be eliminated. Therefore, England should approach the game with a positive frame of mind and aim for full three points.
It won’t be easy though as Slovakia have enough quality players in their ranks and are capable of hurting England badly. Plus, they are running high on confidence, following an impressive 2-1 victory over Russia in Slovakia’s last game.
Martin Skrtel vs Jamie Vardy
Harry Kane has been a huge disappointment for England so far, failing to make an impact in either of the two matches. Against Wales, England looked a balanced side, when Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge were introduced in the second half. In all probability, Vardy will start against Slovakia, and his direct style of play could cause Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel a lot of problems.
Vardy’s future has come under intense speculation over the last month, with the Leicester City striker being linked with a £20m move to Arsenal. The England striker, however, has refused to comment on his future and there are suggestions that he might continue with Leicester beyond the summer.
Skrtel is not entirely comfortable with strikers running directly at him and with pace and therefore, the duel between him and Vardy will be absolutely crucial. Vardy is 19/10 to score anytime with William Hill.
Marek Hamsik vs Eric Dier
The Napoli midfielder usually plays as a no 10 for his country, where he was superb against Russia, but he is equally a terrific player (and surprisingly underrated as well) while playing as a deep lying playmaker.
He had taken five shots on goal against Russia (scored one spectacular goal too) and made 52 passes (more than any Slovakian player) including six long balls attempted. England should make sure they cramp him for space and not allow him to exert his dominance in the match. Hamsik is 17/5 to score anytime with William Hill.
Vladimir Weiss vs Adam Lallana
The Liverpool winger is a workhorse in the team. Not only he joins the attack from the right but frequently tracks back the opposition winger, giving Kyle Walker much needed support and allowing Dele Alli to influence his game from more central positions.
Lallana will be up against Weiss, who produced a solid performance against Russia, and his primary focus will be to not let him get into shooting areas or in and around the penalty box too often. The 26-year-old attacking winger loves to dribble and he is capable of producing killer passes from the left.
How can England qualify from Group B?
England’s situation is very simple: Win and the Three Lions will advance to the last 16 as Group B winners. A draw would also guarantee progression to the next round, provided Wales beat Russia. It would also mean, Roy Hodgson’s men will have to surrender the top spot.
A defeat will see them leapfrogged by Slovakia and possibly by Wales. A third-place finish could be on the cards, but they will have to wait and see how the other groups finish up. England are 5/6 with William Hill to win the match.