Current odds:

All the odds stack up here for a nice ASP trading game. AOHW is particularly attractive showing 9.4 right now to lay. The only thing close to a filter warning is England are 1.54 favourites and a little higher odds here would be more comfortable however, let us bear in mind that, the market is basically saying England must win and are (on paper anyway) the better side. So the odds are fine for us.

My only cautionary note would be if you are an avid football fan and you are really into this game from a supporters perspective, be aware of too much emotional involvement. Don’t just think your side are going to win because they are your side.

Stats:

England do not have an historical precedent for hammering goals in at a major tournament. They did beat Croatia 4-2 in the 2004 Euros and the Netherlands 4-1 in the 1996 competition but I think you have to go back to the World Cup final in 1966 for the time before that when they got 4 goals in a major tournament. I can’t be certain of these stats so if you can enlighten them some, please comment below.

General:

In real terms, dealing only with the mathematics of the situation. England could come out of this with a draw and still qualify to the next stage providing they beat Slovakia. This, however, would be dodgy and so they must approach it on the basis of a MUST WIN game and they are capable of beating even the strongest Welsh side in decades and even with the Welsh being on an all time high.

The Welsh game is all about Gareth Bale and Roy Hodgson, a man I generally don’t have a lot of time for, will know (or certainly should know) how to deal with him.  It’s quite simple, if there is such a thing in football. Keep Bale out of the game and the Welsh have very little to threaten you with.

I hate going along with the crowd and everyone is saying we (England) were unlucky against Russia but we weren’t unlucky. A free kick (which is where our goal came from) in the area that it was played from is always played with the goal as a target. 8 times out of ten they are not goals – 2 times out of 10 they are. So the luck, you could argue, is all about the free kick. We were lucky that Eric Dier was able to strike this one into the goal otherwise we may have lost.

If we were really deserved of a win in that game, we would have scored more goals and we would have defended better at the end. Other than Dier, only Rooney came really close to scoring. He was also the engine room for England and his reward was to be taken off before the end and replaced by Wilshire who was totally ineffective along with Sterling. Lallana was, aside from Rooney, the only player that looked like causing any problems for the opposition.

So let us put luck aside and ask – can England beat Wales? I guess we all think the answer is yes (maybe even the Welsh themselves) but clearly England need more from their strikers and they need Hodgson to allow them to let go some. Everyone loves to beat England and here is why I do not admire Roy Hodgson. His tactics are simply too slow, too cautious and they stifle flare (in my opinion).

Harry Kane performed poorly against Russia and we certainly need to see more from him and, despite the Russian result, it appears that the starting line-up for this game is likely to be the same for England. Why? I have no idea. Where’s Vardy? Why is Rooney being played deeper and not as a striker? Why persist with Sterling? I could go on. Bottom line is this will come down to passion. You can’t fault the Welsh for their passion but in the end England must counter that passion with passion of their own, skill and flare.

I do think that this is going to be a tight game but I favour England but only with a 1-0 or 2-0 victory. From an ASP point of view, we need that first half goal or it could get uncomfortable. England have failed to score more than one goal in 13 of their last 14 games in a major tournament. For reasons hard to fathom, England are always at their poorest on the big stage and that is the worry more than anything else.

On the upside for England, Wales have beaten them only once in the last 8 meetings, and that was a 1-0 win in 1984.

Surely Mr Hodgson, the time has come to let go of the reins some and allow the English team to show the flare that they quite clearly have and stop experimenting. But enough talk of bad bloody luck. England must take charge and stop making excuses.