England have been on both sides of the fence in terms of last minute goals in this tournament from the agony of dropping two points against Russia to the ecstasy of Daniel Sturridge’s late winner in the so called “Battle Of Britain” last Thursday they will now look to book their spot in the Round of 16 with a positive result against Slovakia.
A win for Roy Hodgson’s side would see them top the group while a draw would still see them go through as group runners up. After their dramatic win against Wales the question now is what will be Hodgson’s starting eleven. His go for broke substitutions turned the game and what with both Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge coming off the bench you now wonder if they would have done enough to both be included from the start
If that is the case that will mean that Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling will be dropped to the bench, if that is the case then you can’t say that will come as a great surprise. Kane has look exhausted while Sterling has looked short on confidence with his two performances at this tournament being sub par
The other substitute who came on that afternoon Marcus Rashford will also be clamouring for a start but that would mean dropping the impressive Adam Lallana, which would be harsh on the Liverpool player. Not only that but Hodgson may feel that he doesn’t want to load the bases to early and have Rashford as an impact sub should he be required
Apart from that you would imagine the side will be unchanged. Even after his blunder for Wales’ opener on Thursday you can’t see Joe Hart’s place in goal being under threat while the only thing stopping Kyle Walker from playing would be if he hasn’t recovered from the countless surging runs he made as an almost auxiliary winger on Thursday
As for their opponents Slovakia they did what England couldn’t do and that was beat Russia in the group stages. Marek Hamsik was the star in their win on Wednesday after making the first and scoring the second in Lille that Afternoon. He will be the man who will cause England the most trouble this evening.
But he won’t be the only one with Vladimir Weiss a constant threat to the Russians on Wednesday he will look to replicate the form that saw him put Slovakia ahead. He has English league experience so he’ll be more than happy going up against the Three Lions.
Another man who will relish the occasion is obviously Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel, he hasn’t had the best of tournaments so far but this game will feel just like a Premier League encounter for him so he’ll be looking to save his best performance of Euro 2016 so far for this match up and the opportunity to go up against club team mates such as Adam Lallana and James Milner
After their win on Thursday you would imagine that confidence will be high in the England camp and they will look to carry that through into tonight’s match up. Slovakia will certainly be no pushovers but that said if Hodgson does go with Vardy and Sturridge from the start then I can’t see England having too much difficulty. An England win and top of the group for me.