Thursday, 16 June 2016

England vs Wales Euro 2016 Football Match Preview And Prediction - June 16, 2016

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England and Wales meet in a mouth-watering Euro 2016 home nations derby on Thursday.

Who will come out on top in their crunch Group B encounter in Lens? We asked four BBC pundits with a foot in either camp for their verdict on where the game will be won and lost.

Former England midfielders Danny Murphy and Jermaine Jenas talk tactics from an England perspective, while ex-Wales strikers John Hartson and Dean Saunders give the Welsh view.
Murphy - 'England need to be bold and trust their ability'

Danny Murphy: "It is going to be a fascinating match-up if both teams use the same systems they did in their first games.

"Wales played with three centre-halves against Slovakia in a 5-4-1 shape and England played with three up front in a 4-3-3 formation.

"Whoever the wide men are in England's attack, they can afford to stay high and wide to stretch the Welsh defensive trio and not track back.

"If it is Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling again, they can go and stand outside the two wide centre-halves and ahead of the Welsh wing-backs.

"That would cause Wales huge problems because if their wing-backs push on at all, then they are leaving a three-on-three at the back.

"England have to be brave to do that, because it would make it an open game, but we need to win it and I think we should be bold. We need to start on the front foot and trust our ability.

"I am not expecting Wales to park the bus, though. The fact they have three points already means they can take more risks.

"They will be organised and have numbers behind the ball but I think they will have a go as well. That will help us, and I am confident we will come out on top."

Bale or Rooney? Or both? Pick your combined England-Wales team
Hartson - 'Wales will score, so we will win if we keep England out'

John Hartson: "The Wales team that manager Chris Coleman picked for the win against Slovakia is perfect for this match too.

"He packed the middle of the pitch with four central midfielders and had Gareth Bale looking to hit them on the counter-attack.

"Bale will be a constant threat because of his pace but the game will be decided by how well Wales defend.

"I am expecting England to change their system to a 4-4-2 to get Jamie Vardy in the team alongside Harry Kane, because of Vardy's pace.

"If Vardy does not play I think the Wales team will be happy because he would cause them more problems than the England team who played against Russia did.

"But if Wales can defend as well as they did in qualifying, when we kept seven clean sheets in 10 games and only conceded four goals, we have a chance.

"A key match-up will be our wing-backs versus their full-backs - who will try to get forward like they did against Russia.

"I don't think we will go forward as much as England, because we don't have to. We have three points and we can pick and choose when we attack.

"The players know that they can stay solid if they stay in formation. I think we will score, so we will win if we keep them out."
Jenas - 'It is down the middle where Bale can hurt England'

Jermaine Jenas: "Bale's comments about Welsh players having more pride and passion than England's are just the biggest wind-up ever.

"I watched England's game against Russia and saw the devastation on our players' faces when they walked off the pitch with a draw when they deserved to win that game.

"How do you measure pride and passion anyway? Just because a team jumps on each other when they celebrate a goal, like Wales did against Slovakia, does not mean they care any more than the other team?

"This England team has got pride, passion and belief too. So, it was a ridiculous statement by Gareth and I was surprised he said it.

"He is obviously going to be well up for this game against England, because it is probably the biggest he has played in a Wales shirt.

"But Bale will not be going anywhere near Kyle Walker or Danny Rose down the flanks because they are both machines. Yes, he is quick but so are they and he will not get anything out of them.

"It is down the middle where his pace can hurt us. He will be thinking that if he can get at Gary Cahill and Chris Smalling he can do some damage.

"For England, I would just tweak the midfield in order to get the best out of Harry Kane up front.

"He was not at his best against Russia and I thought he missed having a partner to work with.

"If Wayne Rooney drops in next to Eric Dier, then Dele Alli can move further forward. He can sit in the hole behind Kane and look to slide him the ball the way he does for Tottenham.

"Otherwise, who is going to score England's goals? You would be looking at a repeat of Kane's performance against Russia, and we cannot go through that again."
Saunders - 'Why the Welsh wall will be hard to break down'

Dean Saunders: "England have one of the best attacks in the tournament and they are a massive step-up from Slovakia.

"But if Wales put up a wall like they did in their first game, we will be hard to break down.

"We did not play with a centre-forward and instead Bale, Jonny Williams and Aaron Ramsey rotated as the furthest player forward.

"Then we had two sitting midfielders in David Edwards and Joe Allen. Edwards had a key role against Marek Hamsik and will have another big job keeping tabs on Dele Alli in Lens.

"I managed Edwards when I was in charge of Wolves and he has a great football brain. When Wales attack, he won't be watching the game. He will be watching Alli and maybe moving a few yards so that when we lose the ball he is in the right place and will not have to chase him.

"Then our two wing-backs will bomb on and pass the ball to each other. The advantage of switching the play like that, with long diagonal balls, is that it will make it very difficult for England to launch counter-attacks.

"If we attack down the middle and they intercept, they can come at us quickly. But, If those diagonal balls are too long, then the ball will go out of play and Wales will have time to get back in shape.

"If they are headed back up the pitch by the England full-backs, then the Welsh players are in position already and, if they are perfect, then our wing-backs will be in possession and in a great position.

"We know England are favourites but we are a small country, making up for things with grit, determination and team spirit.

"'Together Stronger' is the team motto, and that is what will help to get us a positive result."

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