Euro 2016
Date: Thursday, 16th June, 2016
Time: 14.00pm BST / 9am ET
Venue: Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens

England and Wales will meet in Lens in an all-British clash in Group B, one day after Russia and Slovakia played their second group game. England are heavy favourites, according to SmartBets, despite being two points behind their rivals, and a lot will depend on how England handle Gareth Bale.

Wales topped the table after one game with a wholehearted 2-1 win over fellow debutants Slovakia – Gareth Bale scoring his country’s first-ever European Championship goal.

Roy Hodgson’s England were disappointing in drawing 1-1 against Russia to start their tournament and really need three points versus their rivals if they want to top the group to avoid the winners of France and Germany’s groups in the early knockout rounds.

Eric Dier scored England’s goal from a direct free kick with some questionable goalkeeping from Igor Akinfeev.  Other than that, Wayne Rooney was the only other player to give the Russian goalkeeper any difficulties in open play despite England dominating possession and territory.

England will need to improve in the final third if they want to beat Wales – Chris Coleman’s team kept clean sheets in both qualifying matches versus Belgium.  They were only troubled a couple of times by Slovakia – two from skillful runs, the second setting up the goal, and a header that struck the post.  Perhaps the former is the only reason why Hodgson could possibly start Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana starting again after a dismal first start for both wide men.

Wales worked well as a team to get here and to win their first game here – and it’s something they’ve been making a big deal about in the build up to taking on the Three Lions on Thursday.  Few could argue the team spirit and effort the Welsh give is much higher than their upcoming opponents.

Gareth Bale tested the Slovakian goalkeeper with all five of his efforts finding the target – England will need to keep an eye on the superstar and give help to Kyle Walker when he drifts out wide.  It would be a suggestion that James Milner starts out wide as Eric Dier is likely to be busy with Aaron Ramsey.  Dele Alli and Wayne Rooney will be used defensively too.

England v Wales Odds

England vs Wales: Team News

England Team News

Harry Kane looked tired in the second half versus Russia but don’t be surprised if Roy Hodgson starts the Tottenham man again.  Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana were poor in their opener which could open a path for Jamie Vardy and James Milner to start.  We wouldn’t even be surprised if they revert to a 4-2-3-1 to have extra protection down the middle against Gareth Bale and have some width against Wales’ full backs.

Wales Team News

Wayne Hennessey missed the first game with a back injury but should replace Danny Ward in goal for this one.  Joe Ledley and Andy King will hope to feature at the expense of Dave Edwards, but the 3-5-1-1 system and game plan should be very similar to their 2-1 win over Slovakia.  With England needing the win more than Wales, expect Chris Coleman’s side to play a counter-attack style.

Possible Starting Lineups

England predicted XI: Joe Hart; Kyle Walker, Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling, Danny Rose; Eric Dier, Dele Alli, James Milner, Wayne Rooney, Jamie Vardy; Harry Kane

Wales predicted XI: Wayne Hennessey; James Chester, Ashley Williams, Ben Davies; Chris Gunter, Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen, Joe Ledley, Neil Taylor; Gareth Bale; Hal Robson-Kanu

Key Stats

0 – Harry Kane didn’t have a single touch in the Russian penalty area in England’s opener.

1 – Gareth Bale scored with Wales’ first-ever shot on target in a European Championship.

6 – Harry Kane took six corners versus Russia – he took a combined seven for Tottenham Hotspur in 38  Premier League games last season.

Prediction: England 1-1 Wales