Having finally calmed down from the frustration of not being able to beat Russia on Saturday night, England take on Wales in their second game of this Euro 2016 competition, and isn’t it just the game we’ve all been waiting for?
Not only is this a big one because playing another home nation is always a tasty affair. This time it’s big because it means something more. If we lose to our neighbors, then England’s fate could well be out of our own hands. All depending on if Russia beat Slovakia of course, or Russia could just get disqualified and make our lives a whole lot easier. On top of this, Gareth Bale has been stirring the proverbial sh*t in the past few days, claiming England don’t have as much pride as Wales.
Oh Gareth, you joker you, now its personal.
With the current group B table looking like the above (at time of publishing). England really need the whole 3 points tomorrow afternoon (2:00p BT, 9:00a ET, 6:00a PT on BBC One/ESPN). And following a positive, yet disappointing display against Russia it will be interesting to see how Roy lines us up to face Gareth Bale and company.
Here are the two key decisions I think Roy could be mulling over as we speak.
Harry Kane - For me he just wasn’t good enough the other night. He didn’t cause enough trouble for the back line and was not menacing. Also, Kane taking corners just outright baffles me. The obvious option is to bench him for Vardy, but Roy could also be considering putting them both in with Rooney through the middle as we did in that final warm up game against Portugal.
Raheem Sterling - As with Harry Kane, he just didn’t impress me on Saturday, and despite trying to be positive he just couldn’t make anything work. This is a difficult one though as England didn’t bring many other wingers to replace him, so dropping Sterling in place of Wilshire or Barkley would give England a bit of unbalance.
Whatever team Roy chooses they will of course have a couple of problems against Wales. Firstly, trying to stop Gareth Bale; we saw from the Portugal game last night that one man a team doesn’t make. But nevertheless, Bale is the clear danger man, and weather England decide to go toe to toe with him or just treat him like any other forward needs careful consideration.
This goal just frightens me. And the commentary is simply outstanding.
The second key problem is how to break Wales down. They’re a tight defensive unit, and with players like Ashley Williams they will defend and block to their hearts content. We weren’t good enough against Russia to break down an average defense so something different/sharper/more clinical will be needed tomorrow.
Finally, the issue of passion. Wales will be incredibly pumped up for this game, and if England try to go there and simply outclass them, we are playing a dangerous game. For me, we need to be equally as motivated and fierce. Combine that will our quality and it should all come good in the end.
At the end of the day England should have enough quality to outplay Wales, as long as we go in with a hunger. If we can get things right in the box and stick away the chances that we will inevitably create, we will be fine. A tougher test than Russia no doubt, but I’m going for 3-1 to England.