England have climbed to the top of Group B after beating rivals Wales on Thursday. Prior to the last set of group matches, all the teams in this group have a genuine shot at reaching the first knock out stage.
On Wednesday, Slovakia beat Russia 2–1 to stake their claim at the qualifying spot in Group B. Wales, who grabbed three points against the Slovaks in their opening game of the tournament, succumbed to England’s inuury time winner scored by Daniel Sturridge. The Three Lions now have four points from two matches. However, only a win can guarantee them a place in the next round.
Roy Hodgson’s men will meet Jan Kozak’s team in Saint Etienne on June 20, Monday. England have won all their previous encounters against Slovakia. Their last victory over the Falcons came in 2009 where they won 4 – 0 in an international friendly.
England started with a front three of Adam Lallana, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling but none of these players saw the final whistle as Marcus Rashford, Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge replaced them in the second half. It is quite likely that Roy Hodgson might drop Sterling and Kane for Sturridge and Vardy in the next match.
England cannot afford to leave their qualification to chance. Any two teams out of the top three in Group B will ensure their qualification to next round with a win on Monday. And it is also quite likely for the third-placed team in Group B to reach the round of 16 according to Euro 2016’s new format of selecting the four best third-placed teams.
England deserved the victory against Wales but once again it was a tight game. Under 2.5 goals looks a good option.
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