EURO 2016: England-Wales
Thursday fixtures will be opened with a highly prestigious Group B clash between England and Wales. From the moment these two sides were drawn together in the group stage, tongues started wagging. WalesÃ‚Â´ iconic striker Bale and EnglandÃ‚Â´s star Wilshere have been on the forefront of the war of words ahead of the match, vividly expressing how much they want to beat each other. Unsurprisingly, the star-studded English side will be the favourites of this highly emotional game but Wales are the current group leader after they beat Slovakia in their opener and they are certain to give their very best performance in the match. Starting at 3 PM (CET), the battle England vs. Wales will be played at the Bollaert-Dellelis Stadium in Lens.
England travelled to France with high ambitions and what is generally considered one of their best teams in years. The English wanted to prove their quality in the opener against Russia, hoping to kick off their EURO campaign in a victorious fashion after failing to win any of their first matches at the past eight championships. Just as expected, the British dominated the match and they took the lead after Dier converted a free kick in the 73rd minute. As exhausted Russia did not even try to get England under pressure at the end of match, HodgsonÃ‚Â´s men were on course for what would be a well-deserved win but the Russian captain Berezutski shocked England with his superb stoppage-time header, denying them the victory. Consequently, England claimed just one point in the match, complicating their position in the group. As another potential loss could get the Three Lions in serious troubles, the English are sure to go all-out for a win in the Thursday clash against Wales.
One of the tournamentÃ‚Â´s debutants, Wales were not expected to make it to the knock-out stage but the impressive victory they produced in their opener against Slovakia suggests the Welsh might well exceed these sceptical expectations. In terms of outfit quality and amount of experience, Wales and Slovakia are comparable, implying their head-to-head encounter would be a tight affair. The British had the upper hand in the first half when they also took the lead through Bale. However, the second half was dominated by the Slovaks who equalized the score in the 61st minute. The match seemed to result in a fair draw but with just nine minutes remaining, substitute Robson-Kanu scored what turned out to be WalesÃ‚Â´ winner. What makes the Welsh triumph even more impressive if the fact that they were without their No.1 goalkeeper Hennesey who got injured prior to the match and had to be replaced with inexperienced Ward. As Hennesey still struggles for fitness, Ward will probably guard WalesÃ‚Â´s goal in their next game against England too.
With a number of Premier League stars including Kane, Vardy, Rooney, Wilshere, Sterling and others in their squad, England are considered one the biggest favourites of the tournament but right now, the teamÃ‚Â´s utmost priority is to advance from the group. After claiming just one point in their opener against Russia, England are now under pressure to produce a victory in their next game. However, beating Wales, who earned a morale-boosting win over Slovakia in their first match, will be no easy task. Will England meet the role of the favourites of the clash and claim the coveted victory? We will know by Thursday night.
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