Since the draw this has been the most hotly anticipated game of the group stages and on Thursday it finally arrives. The Battle of Britain between England and Wales one that sees Wales currently topping the group and England looking to put the disappointment of Saturday night behind them by earning a first win of the group stages
England certainly have many positives to take from Saturday’s game against Russia but the manner in which they failed to end up with all three points will almost feel like they lost the game. Even the performance was impressive there will still be some questions for Roy Hodgson to answer, namely why was Harry Kane taking corners and will the given the same task this time around. Kane was disappointing by his own standards on Saturday night and you get the feeling that if he is to draw another blank then maybe his time leading the line in this tournament could come to an end.
In Midfield Wayne Rooney looked impressive and you would imagine that he will once again be tasked with playing just off the forward while I would be surprised if Raheem Sterling starts after a sub par showing on Saturday night. The concern is though that as a squad there is a lack of genuine width, would perhaps Jamie Vardy be put out wide to give a bit more dynamism to the side. The only concern there is that it could be a case of a square peg in a round hole
For Wales Chris Coleman had a positive selection dilemma. Will match winner Hal Robson-Kanu have done enough to warrant inclusion from the start, after being the hero on Saturday Afternoon he will be desperate to force his way into the starting eleven, also could Premier League winner Andy King get the nod over David Edwards. That would perhaps be harsh on Edwards who covered just about every blade of grass during his game time against Slovakia
And of course not forgetting Gareth Bale. As always the criticism of Wales is a one man team but even it was what a man to have. It was his freekick that put Wales ahead against Slovakia and now that he is off the mark in Euro 2016 he would love to add to that tally against England. You would have to imagine that this won’t be like any normal international, it will have the feel of a Premier League game and that should mean a higher tempo, one that could suit England better
England were impressive with their pressing game against Russia and will no doubt look to replicate that against Wales. With such familiarity between the two sides there will be no secrets in terms of pre-match planning, you get the feeling that this game will be played at 100 miles per hour. It may be cliché but the form book will definitely go out of the window with this encounter.
That said if England can play as they did against Russia then there’s no reason as to why they can’t get their first win of the tournament and possibly go top of the group. At the time of writing the William Hill Euro 2016 betting odds are England at 4/7, Wales at 5/1 and the Draw at 3/1. The smart money here could be on a Draw but personally I fancy England to nick this one but then again maybe that’s the patriotism calling