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England vs Wales Review: England Victorious

England and Wales met today in a crucial game at Euro 2016. Would we see England victorious or could we see Wales secure a last 16 place?

This was the first time the two sides had met in a major tournament. It had a derby or a cup final feel to it and due to comments going back and forth between camps, it promised to be a fiery affair. Would we see England victorious or would the Welsh defy the odds and qualify with a game to spare?

Pre game, pundits, bookmakers and many fans dismissed Wales’ chances with many predicting that England should run out easy winners against a side that many, rightly or wrongly had down as massive underdogs. History suggested that they were correct to think this. Before the game England were unbeaten against Wales in 32 years and hadn’t conceded a goal in their last four encounters.

England vs Wales Review: England Victorious

Three Lions manager Roy Hodgson had a fully fit squad to choose from. He did have a selection headache though. Keep the same starting eleven that began against Russia or introduce the likes of Jamie Vardy and Jack Wilshire.

Like his English counterpart, Welsh manager Chris Coleman had no injury concerns and having beaten Slovakia in their first game, he was expected to field an unchanged side.

As expected England remained unchanged but Chris Coleman made three changes. Wayne Hennessey, Joe Ledley and Hal Robson-Kanu replaced Danny Ward, David Edwards and Jonny Williams.

Team Lineups

England – Hart, Walker, Rose, Smalling, Cahill, Dier, Alli, Rooney, Lallana, Sterling, Kane.

Wales – Hennessy, Chester, Williams, Davies, Gunter, Ledley, Allen, Ramsey, Taylor, Robson-Kanu, Bale.

For the Welsh, a win would guarantee them a place in the next round. For England, it’s a game they simply could not lose if they wanted to cling on to keeping destiny in their own hands.

First Half

Wales kicked off the game but it was England who were immediately on the front foot causing the Welsh defence some early problems. One notable change was that Harry Kane was not on corner duty. On six minutes Raheem Sterling had a glorious chance to put England in front. Oakland broke down the right, played the ball into the box but Sterling fired over when it looked much easier to score. A huge let off for Wales.

Both sides were now attacking, Wales mainly on the counter attack where possible. Both teams were causing each other problems, but at this stage, shots on target were non existent. After the frantic start, the game unsurprisingly began to settle down and was now in need of a lift from somewhere or someone.

On 25 minutes the first attempt on target came along. Gary Cahill’s flick header was easily saved by Hennessey. The game all of a sudden came to life with both teams on the attack. However it was England who looked the more likely to make a breakthrough. Chris Smalling heading just wide.

Welsh Breakthrough

On 42 minutes Gareth Bale put Wales in front against the run of play with a moment of magic. A long range free kick was fired in by Bale and although Joe Hart in the England goal should have done a lot better the ball ended up in the net to give the Welsh the lead.

Halftime England 0 Wales 1. England had the better of the first half without threatening too much. A huge team talk coming up for Roy Hodgson.

Second Half

Both Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge came on for Kane and Sterling for the second half. Hodgson had to make changes and he did just that. Time will tell quickly if the changes work.

England started positively and 10 minutes into the second half the changes made paid off. Jamie Vardy putting the ball into the net from inside the six yard box. England deservedly back on level terms. The Three Lions were now well on top and at this stage there only looked like there would be one winner. However, Wales could not be counted out yet.

Marcus Rashford, the 18 year old Manchester United forward was England’s last substitute making his competitive debut as Roy Hodgson searched for the win. England were now camped in the Wales half but the Welsh were defending well. That was until the 92nd minute.

Sturridge’s Late Heroics

Daniel Sturridge broke into the box, somehow got through a sea of Welsh players and put the ball past Hennessey to give England the lead and surely the victory. With seconds remaining Bale came close to equalising but England held on. Full time England 2 Wales 1. England victorious and their Euro dream lives on.

With this win, England have kept their destiny in their own hands. The three points puts them top of the group and a good result against Slovakia will seal their passage into the knockout stages of the competition. Wales must now get a result against Russia to keep their own Euro 2016 dreams alive.

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