After a disappointing World Cup, England’s coach Roy Hodgson turned to the next generation of English football talent tournament and his faith in youth has been rewarded with some encouraging performances. A run of ten successive victories earned them qualification as Group E winners, although they have subsequently lost to Spain and the Netherlands, they have also beaten Germany and France.
Chris Coleman’s Welsh side have become the first teams from that nation to qualify for the European Championships, thanks to a series of hard-fought narrow victories and a creditable win over Belgium. That said, they have struggled since the autumn of 2015, losing in Bosnia and drawing at home with Israel, and their only win in their last six games was a 2-0 victory over Andorra in their final qualifier.
England vs Wales – H2H Stats
England versus Wales is a football rivalry that goes back to June 1879 when England won 2-1 at Kennington Oval, London.
Altogether they’ve met 101 times, and England has had the better of the fixture, winning 66 of those matches to Wales’ 21. The last Welsh victory came in 1984 in what was the last ever British Home Championship, when a Mark Hughes goal separated the sides at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham.
The near neighbours have met four times since then, twice in the qualifying for the 2006 World Cup and twice in the qualifiers for Euro 2012, and England won all four of those games without conceding a goal.
Since the England squad contains five strikers and four more players whose best position is in central attacking midfield, Hodgson has limited room for tactical variation and is likely to go with his usual 4-4-2 diamond formation. Raheem Sterling may offer some pace and width, but he is not certain to start, and England is likely to play a possession based game in the middle of the pitch.
Welsh manager Chris Coleman showed impressive tactical acumen throughout the qualifying campaign. His team’s defensive strength came from a three-man central defence covered by two holding midfielders, but he also managed to get the most of his attacking options by giving Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey free roles behind the lone striker, supported, when Wales have the ball, by two foraging wing backs.
England vs Wales Odds & Betting Markets
Pundits seem to agree that this is the game in which the Group favourites are most likely to struggle. There is merit in that theory, but not for the reasons most often given. Conventional wisdom has it that England will find it tough to play against their near neighbours, who will be desperate to beat a bitter rival.
But that is unlikely to unsettle this England team. This match will be almost exclusively by English and Scottish league players, and the extra edge provided by local rivalry will serve to make it even more like a high-tempo Premier League game, a scenario in which the English players will feel perfectly at home.
The reason why England will struggle against Wales is tactical. The three-centre-half system that Wales employ is vulnerable to opposing sides that can exploit the space behind the wing-backs. This is mainly why the system died out in the 1990s. Unfortunately, England has no width in their squad. Their play will be funnelled through the centre and Wales will have the numbers to snuff out any such attacks.
Thanks to England’s narrow diamond formation, there will be no-one to put pressure on the Welsh wing-backs, who will be able to get forward with impunity to support their forwards. Most importantly, because Hodgson likes his team to keep their shape, Ramsey and Bale will be able to cause havoc playing between the rigid English lines.
Wales are perfectly set up to exploit England’s weaknesses and they look an outstanding bet to win the game at 5.1 with Marathon Bet.
Odds for Clean Sheet
Wales have qualified on the basis of their stout defence and that is going to be their base in this game. They managed seven clean sheets in their qualifying campaign and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if they managed to shut England out completely.
Back Wales at 4.5 in the Clean Sheet market with Boylesports.
Odds for Winning Margin
Wales have the ideal game plan to soak up English pressure and hit on the break, and the more that England press, the greater the opportunities for Bale and Ramsey. If Wales are leading with half an hour to go, it’s not hard to imagine England becoming increasingly desperate and leaving themselves vulnerable at the back.
Wales to win by two goals looks a good bet at 17.0 with StanJames.