Thursday 16th June. 2PM. BBC One
It’s the one we’ve all been waiting for since the draw was made. Group B. Lens. England v Wales.
This was always going to be a huge clash for both of the home nations representatives, but results on matchday one have cranked up the energy to another level. The winner should top the group while the loser could be in for a real battle to reach the last 16.
Everything is on the line, including local pride; expect fireworks from start to finish.
Not to be missed:
Three Lions Seeking Pole Position
Saturday’s opener against Russia brought everything apart from the win as Roy Hodgson’s men were pegged back at the death by Russia’s first real attempt at goal. England can take positive from the performance, but tournament football is all about results. If the Three Lions want to top the group, beating Wales is a must.
England certainly have the players to shine. Skipper Wayne Rooney was exceptional in a deeper role against Russia while the Spurs trio of Kyle Walker, Danny Rose and Eric Dier were in fine form too. If Harry Kane can enjoy a better time of things against the Welsh, the Three Lions will have a fantastic shot.
Hodgson has some big calls to make, including whether to drop Raheem Sterling in favour of Jamie Vardy. Can the Leicester City hero get the party started by putting the Dragons to the sword? Meanwhile, Jack Wilshere may feel like he deserves a recall following his cameo against Russia.
The pressure is on England, but their overall quality is better than the Welsh’s. If they can operate in a cohesive manner, they’ll have a very strong chance indeed.
Can Bale Lead Wales To Victory?
It took just 10 minutes for superstar Gareth Bale to send his country into euphoria in their opener against Slovakia, and the Red Army will be looking to their talismanic hero for further inspiration in this huge clash against local rivals.
Bale does have the support of Aaron Ramsey and co, but there is no question that Chris Coleman will be hoping to utilise his star performer to maximum capabilities. However, they must also keep things tight at the back, where they will come under immense pressure.
Defensive solidarity has been a key feature for Wales throughout the past two years, but this is arguably their hardest challenge. Man for man, they aren’t as strong as England. However, if the unit remains tough to break, they might yet cause an upset.
This is the biggest day in Welsh football history for over half a century, and even a draw would be perfect. Passions will be boiling from start to finish. It should be an absolute classic.
Euro 2016: England v Wales Betting Tips
Both England and Wales will fancy their respective chances in this crucial battle of Britain, but it’s Hodgson’s men that are considered firm favourites at 4/7. The Welsh, meanwhile, are available at 6/1 whilst the draw can be backed at 3/1.
If England dominate play as they did against Russia, they should win with relative ease. It would be harsh to label Wales a one-man side, but keeping Bale quiet would virtually nullify the danger. Of course, that’s easier said than done. However, the Three Lions are more than capable.
England are the team needed points, but the occasion could easily tempt Wales to abandon their usual defensive philosophy. England’s experience could tell.
Asian Handicap: England -1 @ 68/67 with BetVictor
This will be a feisty affair from start to finish, and there’s so much riding on it for both sides. The pressure is on, and that could lead to mistakes.
It wouldn’t surprise us if there was a sending off at some stage, but it’s the penalty that really appeals to us. Both sides boast explosive players in the attacking third while the defensive stars aren’t quite so formidable. At 10/3, it’s well worth a punt.
A penalty to be awarded @ 10/3 with SkyBet