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Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge struck a stoppage-time winner as England came from behind to win 2-1 against Wales, in a crucial Group B encounter in Lens.
Roy Hodgson named an unchanged XI that drew against Russia last Sunday. Despite enjoying a healthy possession, England failed to create any clear-cut chances and got themselves on the back foot when Gareth Bale scored a stunning free-kick from 40 yards out, although Manchester City’s goalkeeper Joe Hart should have done better with his gloves work.
Needing a win to lift the mood in the dressing room and set the tone for the rest of the tournament, Hodgson quickly moved to Plan B: Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge took the field in place of Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling at half time.
Vardy, the Leicester City striker, made an instant impact after he flicked Ashley William’s header into the net to restore parity. England found a new belief, the body language changed completely and from there on Hodgson’s side completely dominated the game.
With time running out, Hodgson took another big gamble by bringing on Manchester United’s youngster Marcus Rashford in place of Adam Lallana, as England looked to seal full three points. Rashford, who only made his senior United debut in February, now became the youngster ever player to have represented England.
Wales soaked all the pressure England had thrown on them and just when it looked like Hodgson’s team would have to settle for a draw, Liverpool striker Sturridge stepped up and scored a superb goal to send the fans in pandemonium.
With this result, England have moved to the top of Group B with four points, although all four teams can still qualify for the knockout stages.