Euro 2016 Group B: England expects better from Wales and Bale battle
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | June 14, 2016
England v Wales
- Euro 2016 Group B
- Thursday, June 16th
- Kick-off: 12:00 BST
- Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens
- Live on BBC One
High stakes for Home Nations
England have won all of their last four matches against neighbours Wales to nil, and the Dragons have kept one clean sheet in seven internationals since September, so those stats suggest Roy Hodgson’s side should do well in this Home Nations encounter.
Coral make the Three Lions odds-on 8/15 match favourites and better at 13/10 for another victory without conceding, but punters should not forget the presence of Gareth Bale in opposition ranks nor that it’s one shut-out in six for the English.
Proving his influence by netting a free-kick as Wales went on to beat Slovakia 2-1 before England were denied at the death by Russia, Bale and company are an awesome 11/2 price to upset their Euro 2016 Group B rivals. Another draw for the Three Lions, meanwhile, is a 3/1 chance.
Bale must be real deal again
While the Dragons haven’t scored against England since 1984, it is their established stars that Chris Coleman is counting on for inspiration. Bale struck first against Slovakia, so is a 6/1 shot to do so again in Lens, or a safer 7/4 in the anytime market.
Hal Robson-Kanu – an attacker Reading may rue releasing if he continues to play himself into the shop window – grabbed the winner last time out, and hold fine odds of 5/1 to grab another goal here.
Aaron Ramsey is the one from midfield that the Three Lions will want to stop, and he’s 4/1 to break forward and net anytime. Burnley target man Sam Vokes offers an alternative and physical threat up front, and is longer at 5/1.
Keep faith with Kane?
Much of the build-up to this battle has surrounded one key question; whether or not Harry Kane should lose his starting XI spot after an insipid display against Russia?
Wales will play with three at the back and, as we saw when Italy who play the same system beat Belgium, lone frontman Romelu Lukaku cut an isolated figure when so heavily outnumbered.
Hodgson must surely be tempted into a tactical switch and operating with a midfield diamond. Wide areas are not a concern as the Welsh play Bale as a striker, so leaving a direct battle between full backs make sense.
Premier League Golden Boot winner Kane has five goals in 13 England caps during a senior international career that is still just beginning, and the Spurs striker remains an even-money favourite to score anytime for his country here.
Supporting Lions cast must roar
Extra support will be essential, so Daniel Sturridge or Jamie Vardy to partner Kane would seem wise. Either attacking alternative are 5/4 chances, and Vardy, who netted in three successive internationals during the six build-up games to Euro 2016, is the best value.
The Tottenham contingent in Three Lions ranks know clubmate Ben Davies as an understudy left back, yet Wales utilise him in the centre of defence and this may be an exploitable thing.
Box-to-box midfielder Dele Alli is a tasty 10/3 to net anytime in support of however many attackers Hodgson chooses, while England captain Wayne Rooney has the unwanted stat of no goals in four previous caps against the Dragons.
Both teams scoring looks sure-fire bet
Given the well-documented defensive frailties of the Three Lions, and Wales’ recent struggles to shut the opposition out, odds of 6/5 for both teams to be on target are certainly appealing.
Even more attractive is the 23/10 on offer for the two sides to score and either to win, and this allows punters to hedge their bets nicely.
One last patriotic punt to consider is a terrific 3/1 on an England victory and both teams netting, with the great strength in depth surely able to shine through despite Wales’ key trio of Bale, Ramsey and Ashley Williams.
What does Coral football ambassador Alan Shearer think ahead of this clash between Home Nations?
You’ll find comprehensive coverage of Euro 2016 on our dedicated section.
Coral’s top tip: Both teams to score and either to win is top value here at 23/10.