England sit nicely at the top of Group B with one game to go against a challenging Slovakia side, but as we know from the last game for Wales, one bad result can change everything. I'm going to be taking a look at what England can do in order to win on Monday, against Slovakia.
1. The team
After a fine performance in the second half V Wales, I think the team selection will be changed, and there will be more attacking emphasis. Unfortunately I think Harry Kane may be dropped for the tie. He hasn't been performing when he has needed to and has been limited with opportunities. So I don't think he will feature, particularly not in the first half. I think that either Sturridge or Vardy should start up front in place of Kane, I'd maybe look more towards Sturridge, although he can be particularly greedy. Also, I would give young Marcus Rashford an opportunity to start against Slovakia, he showed great composure against Wales when he came on and showed some really strong qualities which he should look to build on in the coming games. For me the player who would make way for Rashford is Raheem Sterling, and I'd keep the Lallana on the other side of the new striker. They are the only squad changes I think that should be made. Leave the rest of the team as it is because the whole squad have been performing particularly well.
2. The Midfield Battle
For England to really control the fixture, the midfield need to work incredibly hard. Slovakia's danger comes from attacking midfielder Marek Hamsik, who will have to be stopped, and managed well by England defensive midfielder Eric Dier. Dier has proven his quality in the last couple
of games for England, scoring a fantastic free kick against Russia and breaking down the Welsh midfield in Last Thursday's fixture, he again will be pivotal to the success of Hodgson's side. Another successful player to play in the last two fixtures in Midfield is Wayne Rooney, in both fixtures he has shown his maturity and class by controlling the midfield and working hard, being a great link between Dier and the slightly more attacking Dele Alli. Wayne is going to have to do exactly the same in order to cause a problem against Slovakia, they cant build an attack if Wayne is controlling the ball, and if his play is dictating the tempo of the game, Slovakian attacks may be sloppy.
3. Slovakian Threat
Slovakia have been surprising in this group, they have shown their attacking strength in their 2-1 win over Russia, where one strong performance by Marek Hamsik won them the game. This is what England must be wary of, if Hamsik catches England off guard early on we could be in trouble. It is therefore vital that we get our defensive midfield and central defenders on the ball early, keep them alert and let them play their way into the game to be ready for counter attacks, because Slovakia will try to soak up all England pressure, before releasing an attack to try and catch Roy's men out.
Overall once again it should be an exciting fixture, another one. If England play to the best of their ability they can easily overpower the Slovakia side and finish the group in first position. If the players aren't up for it however, we could find ourselves in a fighting battle, either way it should be a great spectacle. Come on England!