Wales suffered a disappointing defeat to rivals England in their second game at the Euros.
Wales took the lead through none other than Gareth Bale and led at half time. Roy Hodgson responded at the break deploying some fine managerial skill bringing on Daniel Sturridge and Jamie Vardy who both found the back of the net to give England their first win of the campaign.
The first half was a scrappy affair and emotions were clearly running high as shown by a succession of fouls with neither team really looking comfortable on the ball. Eric Dier gave away possession for England a number of times and the Tottenham-Arsenal battle was in full swing between Aaron Ramsey and Dele Alli providing some heated moments.
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Ramsey was in inspirational form and at times, it looked like there were two of him on the pitch. However, Wales’ talisman Bale wasn’t able to put his normal stamp on the game and struggled to be an effective influence.
Bale, like any star player, has a habit of making headlines, though. He scored the winner in their opener against Slovakia which saw the Cardiff Fan Zone go mad and followed it up with another spectacular free kick yesterday, admittedly Joe Hart should have saved it but if the Welsh wizard can find some form, Wales could still be the dark horse at these Euros.
With the way the Euros are formatted this year, four of the best ranked third place teams will make it out of the groups. Despite Wales' defeat to a relentless England, they are by no means written off.
England are sitting pretty at the top of Group B and will face a tough final game against Slovakia in Saint-Etienne.
Chris Coleman's side take on Russia in Toulouse and will look to amend the mistakes they made against England. The Welsh huddle after their loss showed the passion they have for the badge but more needs to be done to secure a win.
The normal game plan for the Welsh is to sit and defend then catch their opponents off guard on a counter attack through the pace of Bale and Hal Robson-Kanu.
However, Wales sat too deep, inviting the relentless England onslaught with 11 men behind the ball for almost the entire second half and when they did regain possession they didn’t have enough options higher up the pitch to launch a counter attack.
The frustration was visible on Ramsey’s face as no one was moving forward for him when he had possession resulting in him trying to hold the ball up and being swamped by three English players.
Wales need a defensive line that sits higher up the field to make the opposition work harder in attack. Then, when Wales have possession they need the likes of Gareth Bale and Robson-Kanu to be getting behind the defence as they can always rely on a consistent service from Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen in the middle.
Wales are down but not out.
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