England Football - Euros 2016

Euro 2016 | England v Wales Preview

The clash with Wales is set to be a huge examination of the credentials of both the English team and manager Roy Hodgson.

Defeat for England in Lens would hand the Welsh safe passage into the knockout stages of the competition, while victory would all but guarantee Hodgson’s side a place in the last 16.

The Three Lions are smarting after Real Madrid star Gareth Bale claimed his nation had more pride.

He called England ‘the enemy’ and alleged that they ‘big themselves up before they’ve done anything’, with Hodgson describing the comments as ‘disrespectful’.
And some have been making out that this is effectively Bale v England.

Despite scoring a wonderful free kick, he had for him a quiet game in the opening 2-1 victory over Slovakia.

But great players ‘turn up’ for the big games and you can be sure Bale, along with Wales’ other talent, Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal, will be on song.

England are better off concentrating on their own challenges.

They played well in the 1-1 draw with Russia and were very unlucky not to win the game.

But the fact remains that England are behind the pace and chasing qualification from the group, an all too familiar situation in major tournaments.

Harry Kane has room for improvement after barely getting a sniff against the Russians.

Some pundits are already suggesting that the excellent but injury prone Daniel Sturridge would be a better bet to lead the line. But that would be harsh on the prolific Kane albeit Sturridge will almost certainly be thrown in if England struggle.

Wayne Rooney is another seeing speculation surge around him.

He is likely to continue in central midfield after playing decently in the opener, but it is not a position in which he is usually employed and Wales will be happy if that restricts him from getting into scoring positions.

Who will step up for England?

England has no-one on the same level is Bale – the nearest is Jack Wilshere.

But after losing virtually the whole season to injury and looking fragile it would be asking a great deal of him to engineer a victory.

Adam Lallana and Eric Dier are performing on the European stage.

But England will need centre-backs Gary Cahill and Chris Smalling to shackle Bale or the contest could get messy.

The encouraging factor is that England are creating chances but they must start taking more of them.

Wales, with three points behind them, have little to lose and they might as well have a right go at England.

In contrast England have everything to lose – defeat will see blood-letting across every media outlet in the land.

England need to find their supposedly missing pride and passion and put the Welsh firmly in their place.

Today Eventmasters will also be hosting a Live Screening of this crucial Euro 2016 Group B Fixture at the Burlington Hotel in Birmingham City Centre. For more details please click here