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Euro 2016 Group B: Bale to star but Wales set for tough Slovakia scuffle

Holly Thackeray | June 9, 2016

Wales v Slovakia

  • Euro 2016 Group B
  • Saturday, June 11th
  • Kick-off: 17:00 BST
  • Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux
  • Live on BBC One

Dragons’ opening duel should see plenty of strikes

The fuss surrounding Saturday’s first Euro 2016 Group B fixtures may mainly be fixated on England’s rumble with Russia but, before that, fellow Home Nations member Wales (7/4 for three points with Coral) get set for a teatime tussle with Slovakia, with their previous two encounters having produced a whopping 13 goals.

So, this wrangle could well be the highlight of the opening weekend’s action, with odds of 9/4 for both teams to score and over 2.5 goals in the game, as this dust-up looks primed to follow in the footsteps of earlier high scoring affairs.

Britain Wales Andorra Euro Soccer

These two sides are considered to be fighting it out for second spot behind the Three Lions in this pool, with Roy Hodgson’s men in their respective fixture futures, so should be sufficiently revved up to go out all guns blazing in Bordeaux in pursuit of points.

As the pair of pool underdogs have only jostled twice before, with one victory apiece,a draw at 15/8 would leave things wide open.

Though, if Coral customers wish to hedge their bets, there is a potential bargain to be had, as a price of 11/4 for both teams to score and either team to win is up for grabs.

See Coral ambassador Alan Shearer’s exclusive thoughts on Wales’ Euro chances:

Bale has Slovakia in his sights

Despite the diligence in defence of Chris Coleman’s current Dragons crop, they do possess plenty of players with poaching instincts, so punters can pile the cash on a plum selection of Premier League talents.

For the Welsh there is clearly one main man, and the Dragons’ confidence has looked dented since Bale last started for Coleman’s crew, with a brief appearance off the bench in their last outing against Sweden his first in a Wales shirt since October.

Wales - UEFA Euro 2016 - Training Session - June 8th

Bale bagged on that occasion, and also way back in 2006 against this very opposition, when only a youngster. So, having been rested after winning the Champions League for a second time with Real Madrid, the rampant winger is 4/1 to be first on the scoresheet, or even-money to dispatch for the Dragons anytime.

The only name often mentioned in the same breath as Bale for Wales is Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey and, as punters know, the midfielder has a vicious long-range strike in his locker, so the Gunners goal threat is worth an anytime wager at 15/8.

For less obvious scorer shouts, customers may have to drop down divisions, though striker Sam Vokes is currently on his way back to the Premier League with recently promoted Championship winners Burnley. Vicious Vokes contributed 15 goals to that Clarets campaign and is a 7/2 chance against Slovakia, while MK Dons’ Simon Church is the same price notch anytime.

Hamsik not the only hitman for Slovakia

If Wales are to restrain a Slovakian squad (15/8 for the win) which sank reigning champions Spain in qualifying, as well as World Cup winners Germany in a recent friendly, they will have to be at their best.

Wales coach Coleman cautioned against complacency after the Sweden loss, stating: “We get a bit of success, a bit of expectation, sometimes a little bit of complacency and that can give you a little slap in the face.”

Germany Slovakia Soccer

The Dragons should be firing on all cylinders come Saturday, their first appearance at a major tournament in over 50 years, and the man they must impede most, even with midfield Joe Ledley unlikely to return from his hairline fracture leg break, is Napoli’s Marek Hamsik.

As a Stadio San Paolo fan favourite, and the Falcons’ third all-time top scorer as well as second most-capped, Hamsik is 6/4 to tuck away a chance anytime. Though if the Dragons surround the Serie A star, Slovakia have others waiting to step up in dangerman Adam Nemec (5/4) plus former Premier League wingers (albeit briefly) Vladimir Weiss (5/1) and Miroslav Stoch (6/1).

Related

Keep checking our special Euro 2016 archive for all the latest on Wales.

Coral’s top tip: Back both teams to score and either to win with Coral at 11/4!

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