The importance of this fixture today is incredible. Both teams are going to battling for everything and it has the potential to be history in the making. A win for Wales would see them top the group by 3 points with one game to go, leaving them in a fantastic position guaranteeing their qualification. If England win it would put them top of the group, and after a disappointing result in the Russia game, they'll be looking to improve dramatically. The loss would have a worse impact on England, presuming we remain in the competition after more violence last night with 36 arrested. England would sit 3rd in the group and qualification would become a much tougher task, especially now Slovakia are in contention for qualifying. So I am going to take a look at what England need to do well to win, and what aspects Wales show great strength in which could lead them to victory.
After a disappointing result last time out, it is still fair to say in that game England put in a fine performance, managerial tactics hindered them, but the players did perform. This could once again be one of England's downfalls if not managed carefully today. We are facing a different sort of opponent in Wales and really either a change in formation of change in emphasis on certain player positions should be taking place. We've brought 5 attackers to these finals, and so far only one has featured. I liked to see more of Jamie Vardy, the Premier League's top goal scorer as with a defence experienced in the Premier League, Wales will be fearful of his pace and finishing ability.
Another factor Hodgson needs to consider what system he is going to use to attack the Welsh defence. Is he going to play two striker up front, what would that mean would happen to the wider plays? who should he replace on the wing? For me I think despite some encouraging runs in the Russia game Raheem Sterling is unfortunately one of the players who could be missing out today, only because he isn't as well rounded as some of the players in the squad, who against a very well rounded Welsh side, could be very important.
I do feel if Hodgson plays to his teams strengths keeping Rooney in the midfield with Dier holding, but maybe taking a risk with two strikers, we could easily defeat Wales, but their passion and desire could stop Roy in his tracks.
Wales are certainly not a team to underestimate. They have shown that in qualifying. Just to be at this tournament is remarkable for them. This means that they are taking advantage of this situation, passion and desire in unquestionable from this group of players, making them tricky opponents. They could cause England problems very easily if they want the game more, which why wouldn't they. They are in fine form after a win in their opening games and are in a great position within the Group.
One factor which could determine their success is one man. Gareth Bale. If not dealt with effectively Bale could cause real problems for England, he boasts incredible pace and strength, and has an eye for goal, being Wales most prolific goal scorer within qualifying. Wales are going to be looking to get the ball out too him at every available opportunity, and he could really inflict damage on the England back four, being the high quality player that he is.
Another factor which if Wales utilise could stop England is their midfield and defensive link up play. The ball seems to get trapped in their midfield and defence when they get into a passing rhythm. Their midfield can be rather compact when defending making it difficult for sides to break down. With England packing their midfield also it could make for a tough game for both sides, ending depending on which midfield is stronger.
Overall, and one important thing to look at, is that a draw is not really an option for either of the sides, we should expect to see both teams attacking from the outset to try and win the game. There's no doubting how important this match is, to players nad fans alike. Who will win it, its tough to say, as Wales are looking strong and England are capable. Either way its the highlight of today's football and we should all enjoy,only time will tell who can do it.