England vs. Russia was woeful. It was absolutely horrific for England fans to watch as the Three Lions, as per usual, struggled to beat a side inferior in quality after having so many chances. The game ended 1-1, with England conceding the equaliser deep into injury time.
Wales kicked off EURO 2016 with a stunning victory over Slovakia. Gareth Bale, of course, stole the show, with a glorious free kick in the 10th minute that completely wrong-footed Slovakian ‘keeper, Matus Kozacik. Wales were unlucky to concede through a goal from Ondrej Duda after Robert Mak strolled through the Welsh midfield, but the Dragons fought to the end and Hal Robson-Kanu scored a scrappy winner to claim three points.
England are currently ranked as the 11th best in the world, whereas Wales are 26th. Wales top Group B with three points, and a victory on Thursday would all but guarantee Chris Coleman’s team a place in the last 16.
But, here are FIVE ways that England can prevent that, and claim their first victory of EURO 2016…
Nobody can quite understand why Harry Kane was on corner duty for England against Russia. Kane had actually been taking corners in the friendlies leading up to the tournament, but Hodgson’s decision went un-noticed. It is crazy that at an international tournament, a 6ft 2″, Premier League Golden Boot winner, is taking corners. Kane should without a doubt be in the box on the receiving end of set pieces. He can surely get the better in the air of the likes of Ben Davies.
Raheem Sterling wasn’t exactly the best player on the pitch in Marseille, nor did he cover himself in glory throughout the 2015/16 season. Jack Wilshere too, has not played a full 90 minutes for over a year and many fans were outraged by Hodgson’s decision to put him in the squad.
However these two men could be the key to victory on Thursday. Robert Mak dribbled through the Welsh team with ease to assist Slovakia’s goal, while Marek Hamsik, too, cruised through the team with no problem at all, only to see his goal-bound shot stopped superbly by a Davies slide tackle. Wilshere and/or Sterling are the exact kind of player that could easily take advantage of Wales’ weakness in the tackle.
One of the reason’s that Wales managed to claim the three points on Saturday was their hunger to win, as they never gave up and were first to almost every ball. Eric Dier and Dele Alli are more than capable of winning 50/50s against Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen. Ramsey, as Arsenal fans know, is prone to a pathetic flick every few minutes, or a poor run, and Dier must always be ready to snatch the ball off him. If England want the game as much as Wales, the Three Lions have the quality to win it.
Before the Slovakia game, Wales had lost four out of their past six games, drawing one of the others. In their last match before EURO 2016, Wales were thrashed 3-0 by Sweden. Sweden’s first goal was scored from a corner.
Wales do not have the tallest of teams, nor the strongest, so England must take advantage. Eric Dier, Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney are all great in the air and are a real threat, so it is vital that England play to Wales’ weaknesses. When defending corners, perhaps Danny Rose shouldn’t be marking their tallest player…
Rival matches are always prone to getting out of hand. England must make sure that they don’t give away many fouls against Wales because of course, a certain Gareth Bale can take advantage. Even free-kicks from tight angles are often dangerous from Wales, and England must be careful and cautious when going in for tackles.