The Battle of Britain is all set to erupt in Euro 2016 as England takes on Wales in their second match of Group B. The Three Lions are in need of three points after squandering a lead late against Russia, while Wales could need just a point to secure passage to the next round after beating Slovakia.
Get a complete breakdown of the Battle of Britain with our preview below. And for more of Thursday’s Euro action, check out our preview of Germany vs. Poland.
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England vs. Wales Preview
Where: Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens
When: Thursday, June 16, 9:00 AM ET
TV Broadcast: ESPN
Betting on England (-225)
The English were very unlucky to only come away with a 1-1 draw against Russia in their opening group game. The Three Lions dominated much of the game, and created majority of the goalscoring chances. However, they couldn’t convert on those chances, which proved very costly.
England should once again expect to enjoy more of the ball against a defensive-minded Wales team. You’d have to think that if the English produce the same types of chances they did against Russia, Kane and co. should be able to put one or two of them in.
But even if Kane does struggle again, manager Roy Hodgson still has a lot of good options off his bench with the speedy Jamie Vardy (24 goals for English champions Leicester City last season) and the clinical Daniel Sturridge.
Meanwhile, the English will obviously be well aware of their neighbors’ abilities, as a handful of Wales’ stars play or have played in the English Premier League. With the speed of the English full-backs to get back on defense and the excellent tactical sense of defensive midfielder Eric Dier, the English should be well-equipped to counter Wales’ counterattacking style.
Unsurprisingly, England has the historical edge over its neighbors. The Three Lions have won 66 out of their 101 all-time meetings, including all four meetings in the 21st century.
Betting on Wales (+500)
The Welsh have England right where they want them. After a 2-1 win over Slovakia in their opening group game, the Welsh don’t have the added pressure of going for the win against England. Instead, they can just go out and set up how they would normally do – with a lot of men back on defense and playing on the counter.
A loss to England wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for Wales, while a draw would essentially secure qualification to the next round. In a sense, they have nothing to lose. Wales is certainly plenty capable of avoiding the loss. Their compact defense is very good, and their midfield could also get better if Joe Ledley is finally fit enough to start.
Wales will make things quite difficult for an England team that still hasn’t proven it has the quality to break through a resolute defense. England has failed to score more than once in 13 of its last 14 matches at major tournaments.
Meanwhile, the English defense could be ripe for the picking by Gareth Bale, who has scored 14 of Wales’ 31 goals since February 2012. While that defense played well against Russia, it wasn’t really tested all that much. On paper, the England formation still looks skewed more toward offense, and if Bale can time a counterattack right, he won’t have too many bodies between him and the goal.
Wales raises its game for England, which still can’t find the net more than once. This game ends in a 1-1 draw (+295).
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