A last-gasp Daniel Sturridge goal helped England get their Euro 2016 campaign back on track as The Three Lions edged out Wales 2-1 in a game that was dubbed ‘the battle of Britain’. England came into this game knowing that one result was only really going to suffice, victory.
For football fans from the UK, much build-up wouldn’t have been needed for this game, but with Slovakia defeating Russia yesterday the pressure on England to win grew even more.
Coming into the game Wales who impressively beat Slovakia in the last game after being pegged back, made two changes to their side. Jonny Williams and Dave Edwards made way for Hal Robson-Kane and Joe Ledley respectfully.
As for England,their team showed no changes in a match that anything other than a win would see the Three Lions all but knocked out of the tournament. The match itself in the early stages after quite a big build up, disappointed as England struggled to assert themselves in the game and Wales were looking a little nervous.
The 1996 semi-finalists were lacking a cutting edge and an end product for all their possession they were having. Raheem Sterling though however, who was later taken off had a glorious chance to put his side in front after skying over when well place to convert Adam Lallana’s centre.
That miss, though, however, wasn’t going to be costly for the English. There was a scare for England before hand as Wales’ star player Gareth Bale opened the scoring with a stunner of a free-kick.
Just like in the Slovakia game, England goalkeeper Joe Hart’s positioning was questionable as a free-kick from some 40 yards shouldn’t be really finding the back of the net.
England were no doubt a bit rattled, manager Roy Hodgson who has a wealth of experience, really needed to draw upon that now as his side were staring down the barrel.
Roy’s men were in need of a good team talk, some might even say a ‘Carlsberg team-talk’. One thing was for certain if the score stayed the same England would have been all but out of the tournament.
If you are of the England persuasion, however, you would be happy in the knowledge that didn’t happen. Knowing England needed to change the momentum of the game. Hodgson made what would turn out to be two very inspirational substitutions.
In the first-half Wales’ back three weren’t tested enough, but with the introduction of subs Daniel Sturridge and Jamie Vardy, England had more pace in the side and were eventually starting to ask questions of the Welsh backline.
Sturridge, in particular, seemed to make his intent clear, he wanted to be more direct. Although the Liverpool man saw a few speculative efforts go well over the bar initially, the former Manchester City and Chelsea would make go on to make a key contribution in the end.
Fellow sub-Jamie Vardy would help get England back into the game by scrambling in an equaliser. That goal was the least England deserved at that point, from that point onwards there only looked to be one winner, England.
Wales who hadn’t offered much going forward were in need of a firm rearguard to keep out the wave after wave of England attacks. The Welsh were getting deeper and deeper in their own half after the England attacks intensified.
An England winner looked inevitable and the winner duly came from the boot of Daniel Sturridge, in the 92nd minute. From sadness, the English fans were ecstatic as their team pulled off a dramatic injury time win.
Quite a different story from the Russia game, what a difference a week makes.