The much-anticipated all-British affair takes place in Lens on Thursday as England and Wales clash at a major international tournament for the first time.
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Chris Coleman’s side top Group B after the opening round of games with a 2-1 win over Slovakia in which they showed great spirit and teamwork in their European Championship debut.
Meanwhile, England were pegged back by Russia in stoppage time in a disappointing 1-1 draw versus one of the weaker teams in the tournament. Much criticism lay with the manager post-game for some strange substitutions.
Much of the English media were generally impressed though, despite only producing two worthwhile efforts all game and failing to put the game to bed after dominating possession and territory. If you’re confident England can beat their local rivals, William Hill offer 4/7 on a Three Lions win.
Roy may be pleased with the possession his side had in that opener and decide not to change too much, along with the loyalty he seems to have to many players, but we think a change up front if required. Here’s the team we think will face Wales:
Goalkeeper: Joe Hart
The Manchester City goalkeeper didn’t have a chance with Vitali Berezutski’s late looping header but will certainly need to remain focused at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis. Gareth Bale’s opening goal at the weekend for Wales fooled the goalkeeper and in all the Real Madrid superstar tested the goalkeeper with all five of his efforts on goal. Bale has arrived sharp in France. He is 6/1 to open the scoring in this game with William Hill.
Defence: Kyle Walker, Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling, Danny Rose
The two full-backs looked good going forward on Saturday as Russia were pinned back in their own half for much of the game. Kyle Walker won’t get so much freedom in this game with Gareth Bale to deal with. Danny Rose looked suspect defending at times so it will be interesting to see if Wales target England’s left-hand side. Chris Smalling had Artem Dzyuba in his pocket.
Midfield: Wayne Rooney, Eric Dier, Dele Alli
Wayne Rooney pulled the strings versus Russia and was the only player to really test Igor Akinfeev in open play. He’ll be important once more on Thursday as the Three Lions look to win the battle in midfield. Wales got a good showing from their central trio of Dave Edwards, Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey so the United captain may not get as much time on the ball as he did in Marseille. Dele Alli looked a good threat early in that game, let’s see if he can offer support to Harry Kane in the box once again. Eric Dier is vital for protecting the back four.
Attack: James Milner, Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy
We think we’ll see Liverpool’s Adam Lallana dropped for club teammate James Milner. Milner offers better protection down that right wing, particularly when you’ve got Gareth Bale to defend against. Lallana went quiet on Saturday after the opening half hour and many failed to see what he was bringing to the game. Milner can also provide some good crosses from out wide. On the opposite side, Raheem Sterling was England’s worst player in their opener and it was bizarre that Jamie Vardy wasn’t brought on to replace him. The Leicester City striker has to start this game as both his energy and goal threat is needed versus the team top of the group. Harry Kane looked tired in the second half against Russia but no doubt Roy Hodgson will stick with the 2015-16 Premier League Golden Boot winner. If he tires quickly again, the manager seriously has to consider bringing on Marcus Rashford and Daniel Sturridge in his place. Games like this you wonder why he didn’t bring Jermain Defoe.
Vardy is 5/1 to score the last goal with William Hill.