England vs Wales: ‘The Battle of Britain’. That’s what some pundits and fans are saying about this Group B fixture England and Wales. Two countries who share a dislike in one another. This is an international derby.
England head into Thursday’s game deflated, as Russia snatched a very late equaliser. Despite England’s brilliant first-half display and Eric Dier’s fantastic freekick, Roy Hodgson’s men remain under scrutiny.
Many were left wondering why Hodgson did not bring any forwards on during the second half.
As a result of England’s undeadly finishing, it has been speculated that Daniel Sturridge might start on Thursday. Hodgson appears to have a dilemma over Harry Kane, who has been criticised for taking corners for England.
Should Kane remain in the team, or should Sturridge, who has strong chemistry with both wide men (Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling), be the main man?
In contrast, Wales will be on a massive high after their 2-1 victory over Slovakia. Wales have been hailed as a ‘one man team’ with the attainment of Gareth Bale. However it was Hal Robson -Kanu who netted the winner for the dragons, and they currently top Group B.
Chris Coleman has a tough choice to make given the recent injuries to key men. Goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey is fit having missed the Slovakia win with a back problem. Robson-Kanu is likely to start on the bench as he did on Saturday, and Bale tipped to play up front with a free-roaming role.
Not just Bale to fear
But why should England fear Wales? They have one exceptionally gifted player and very few talented men in their team. Just under 40% of the squad are championship players, and no Welsh player has any international tournament football. Stop Bale and you have stopped Wales, right?
Gareth Bale is well familiar with most of the England team, from his days playing in the Premier League with Tottenham Hotspur. The Welshman believes that his team has more passion than England, and the gap between the two teams has decreased.
“I think we’ve got a lot more passion and pride about us than them. We’ll definitely show that on the day,” he said (The Guardian).
Jack Wilshere retaliated by reinforcing the British rivalry, and stated how much the two countries loath each other.
Must-win game for the Three Lions
This is a must-win game for England. Anything other than a win would put serious pressure on the team, and mainly Hodgson. As for Wales they could afford picking up a point, which will virtually guarantee them a place in the knockout round.
However, the Welsh Dragons would be looking to put the three lions to rest, and potentially kill their Euro dreams.
Written by Chris Haroun
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisHaroun
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