The Battle of Britain kicks off TOMORROW NIGHT!
It’s England v Wales and there’s more than just qualification from Group B at stake in this clash between Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions and Chris Coleman’s Dragons. The small matter of British pride is also on the line.
It’s Bale against Kane, Ramsey against Wilshere, the pride of Great Britain up for grabs.
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The pressure is on England after a disappointing 1-1 draw with Russia in their opening game. They performed well enough to win but a late Russian equaliser spoiled the party – meaning anything less than a win will leave the Three Lions in a perilous position. A few England players who started against Russia will probably find themselves on the bench for this Wales clash – particularly the lacklustre Raheem Sterling and absent Harry Kane, who did not have a single touch in the opposition box against Russia.
Wales meanwhile enjoyed different fortunes in their opener against Slovakia. A sublime Gareth Bale free kick put them ahead in the first half before the eastern Europeans equalised. It took a late Robson-Kanu winner to send the Dragons roaring home with three points – and they now sit top of the group.
- Have not won their opening game in the European Championships since 1968
- Six of the last seven European champions have won their first game
- Against Russia, Wayne Rooney made 55 passes with a 86% success rate. Thirty-eight of those were in the opposition half, the most from any England player
- England’s starting 11 against Russia, with an average age of 25 years and 293 days, was their second youngest at a major finals after the 2002 World Cup match against Sweden (25 years and 206 days)
- England had nine shots against Russia in the first half, their most in a single half at a European Championship finals since 2004
POSSIBLE FIRST XI: Hart (GK), Clyne, Smalling, Cahill, Rose, Alli, Dier, Wilshere, Vardy, Rooney, Kane
- Gareth Bale had five attempts all on target in the match against Slovakia – a match-high total
- Bale’s first ever goal for Wales was also against Slovakia in October 2006 – and also from a direct free-kick
- Wales are the first British side to win their opening game at a European Championship finals
- Wales have conceded in each of their past five games – their worst run since March 2013 (11)
- Ramsey has had a hand in three goals in his past three games for Wales (two goals, one assist)
POSSIBLE FIRST XI: Ward (GK), Chester, Williams, Davies, Gunter, Edwards, Allen, Taylor, Williams, Bale, Ramsey