Euro 2016: England vs Wales preview, predicted line-ups and match prediction

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England take on Wales in Lens on Thursday afternoon hoping to bounce back from their disappointment in their opening game against Russia.

Roy Hodgson’s men dominated the clash with the Russians for large parts, but were eventually pegged back by an injury-time equaliser from Vasili Berezutski which forced them to share the spoils.

In turn, that has put pressure on them with Wales defeating Slovakia in their first outing, while the Slovaks bounced back with a win over Russia on Wednesday.

All in all, England know that they must secure a positive result, with Hodgson urging his men this week to ignore the war of words that the Welsh have ignited.

For their part, the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey have enjoyed the verbal exchanges through the media, but they’ll now have to back it up on the pitch in what should a fiery and high-tempo clash.

This is the 102nd meeting between the two sides, although they’ve never met in a major tournament previously. England have won 66 of those encounters, with Wales having to look back to 1984 for their last win over their rivals, with Mark Hughes scoring the winning goal on that occasion against Bobby Robson’s men.

England have won the last four encounters without conceding a goal, but ultimately this is now a very different situation with Chris Coleman undoubtedly confident that his current group can spring a surprise.

Bale will naturally be crucial to their chances, and it remains to be seen whether or not the Real Madrid star can deliver, although it will take a solid team effort to get the result that they desire.

Neither side have any fresh injury concerns or suspensions to consider, but there could be changes for the Welsh who welcome back Wayne Hennessey from injury while Joe Ledley and Hal Robson-Kanu made their case last time out to start.

Predicted Line-Ups:

England: Hart; Walker, Smalling, Cahill, Rose; Alli, Dier, Rooney; Lallana, Kane, Sterling.

Wales: Hennessey; Gunter, Chester, Williams, Davies, Taylor; Allen, Ledley; Ramsey, Bale; Robson-Kanu.

Prediction: England 2-1 Wales. This should live up to expectations and it will be an entertaining clash between two sides desperate to get the win, not only to help their cause in advancing to the knockout stage but also for pride. However, England will have that extra bit of quality up front to undo the Welsh who will make this very difficult for them.