Thursday, 16 June 2016

England v Wales - Match Analysis

What everyone will consider the biggest game of the tournament so far, aside from the opening game, has plenty of anticipation surrounding it. Both teams know a win will pretty much keep it in their own hands for the last game, especially for the welsh side. Bale and company will be looking for the upset to send their neighbours potentially crashing out of the competition.

England will be, dare I say it, out for blood after their dominant display against Russia tarnished by the end result. The young, rejuvenated side will be licking its wounds, in what many praised as one of their better performances in a international competition for a long time.

Its been a rare occasion for the home nations to come up against each other, with the annual British championship being disbanded in 1984. Some consider the tie basically a premier league match, but the English side fielded 324 games between them versus Russia, with wales only having 131 matches.

As kick off looms, nerves are at their highest for both teams, looking for success in a bleak trophy less history in the British isles. As the national anthems are boomed out, Joe Hart and Ashley Williams represents each sides passion and importance in relevance to the rivalry. Here we go.

For the majority of the first half Wales were happy to sit back and soak up the pressure, much like the game against Russia, the team struggled to create the finishing touch. Raheem Sterling had the best chance but the fans were left clenching their fists as the struggling Manchester City winger failed to get over a fantastic cross from Lallana.

The only man who could change the situation would be Gareth Bale, with an average free kick (no bias from the England fan ahem) that left Joe Hart scrambling across to his other side, failing to parry out. Chris Coleman will be happy to be ahead, as he struggled to get his point across to the players to get on Rooney who led the midfield.

As both teams entered the changing rooms, much can be anticipated of Roy Hodgsons team talk, most will be calling for Sterling to be whipped off. The substitutions were made, right on the dot as many worried Hodgson would gamble too late. Sturridge for Sterling and Vardy for Kane shocked most fans as Roy rolled the dice.

The second half continued much as the first, Wales happy to sit back knowing they could protect a   1-0 lead, as the dragons tried to clear the ball Sturridge lifted the ball with Williams only able to knock it into Vardys path who finished calmly. With both of England's full backs pushing on, the back five of Wales tried as they might, with determination and passion summarised in the performance of Joe Ledly before he was substituted off due to injury.

When England looked to slump under the pressure of finding the winning goal, an ingenious few touches from Sturridge drew in the welsh midfield, with a combination pass from Vardy and Alli the ball popped up a few yards out from goal and Sturridge found the return to win it for England.

In what felt like great redemption after the heartbreak of the Russia draw. They now sit at the top of Group B with first place in their own hands. Whilst there are still problems to address, and Sterling will be lucky to start another game as will Kane, strong performances from Rooney and Dier mean that they can be happy with their contributions.

For Wales it is not all bleak, the win over Slovakia looking even more prosperous than before the match, a point against Russia can most likely be enough to get them second. Bale and Coleman can inspire the troops to make a success of their first major tournament.





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