Euro 2016: Wales vs England.. Live!

by | Jun 16, 2016

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Edward June 16, 20161:18 pm

Greetings, culture hunters. This is the match we’ve all been waiting for. In fact, the newly interminable group stage for the 128-team European Championship has really only been worth it for this one glorious moment. It’s going to be fractious, aggressive and unedifying. Racism will never be far away. It’s everything that we love about football. Whichever team wins will be feted as heroes, the losers pilloried and dismissed as class traitors. This is football. This is England versus Wales. I’m so excited I could shit.

Let’s talk turkey (as opposed to talking Turkey, which I will leave to Boris pissing Johnson). England and Wales have played 101 times. England have won 66, Wales 14 and there have been 21 draws. The most recent fixture was in 2011, a qualifier for the 2012 European Championships at Wembley on 6th September. England won both rubbers in that qualification cycle, Ashley Young the only goalscorer on the latter occasion. The last time Wales beat England on the soccer field: 1984. It was a British Championships game at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham thanks to a solitary first half goal from Mark Hughes. Here are the teams from that day:

WALES Southall, Hopkins, Jones, Ratcliffe, Phillips, Thomas, James, A. Davies, G. Davies, Hughes, Rush.

ENGLAND Shilton, Duxbury, A. Kennedy, Wright, Martin, Armstrong, Wilkins, Lee, Gregory, Walsh, Woodcock.

The most famous Welsh victory in recent memory came in 1980, again at the Racecourse Ground and again in the British Championships. Wales, managed (as they were in 1984) by Mike England, ran Ron Greenwood’s England into the ground and came out 4-1 winners with goals from Mickey Thomas, Ian Walsh and Leighton James, as well as a Phil Thompson own goal. Paul Mariner got England’s consolation.

WALES Davies, J. Jones, Price, James, D. Jones, Flynn, Nicholas, Thomas, Giles, Yorath, Walsh.

ENGLAND Clemence, Neal, Cherry, Thompson, Lloyd, Brooking, Coppell, Hoddle, R. Kennedy, P. Barnes, Mariner.

Why dwell on these Welsh victories? You may well ask. Especially if you’re a bit EDL. Well, first of all, they are the rarer and therefore more notable results. Secondly, of course, the current Welsh team is the best for decades and their supporters head to Lens today in expectation rather than hope. A win will see their team qualify for the knockout stages. But it’s not about that, is it?

For the sake of balance and in case Tommy Robinson is joining our live blog this afternoon, here’s a consolatory big England triumph from the archives. On 16th November 1966, the same Engand XI who had won the World Cup that summer beat Wales 5-1 in front of 75,380 at Wembley in a European Championship qualifier. Geoff Hurst scored two and the Charlton brothers got one each, plus a Terry Hennessey own goal. Wales pulled one back from 2-0 down, courtesy of Wyn Davies.

ENGLAND Banks, Cohen, Wilson, Moore, J. Charlton, Stiles, Ball, Peters, R. Charlton, Hunt, Hurst.

WALES Millington, England, Hennessy, Williams, Green, Hole, Jarvis, Rees, R. Davies, W. Davies, Jones.

None of this means anything. Join us back here in about 10 minutes and we’ll really find out what’s what.

Edward June 16, 20161:21 pm

Today’s team news, by the way, is as follows. England unchanged from their 1-1 draw with Russia.

ENGLAND Hart, Walker, Rose, Cahill, Smalling, Dier, Rooney, Alli, Lallana, Stirling, Kane.
WALES Hennessey, Gunter, Chester, Williams, Davies, Taylor, Ramsey, Allen, Ledley, Bale, Robson-Kanu.

Edward June 16, 20161:40 pm

I don’t want to alarm anyone, but there is a fly in here. Annoying one, too. It might be a bluebottle. I’m not sure where the distinction lies between the two, whether it is colloquial or they are actually different species. But it’s doing my head in. Also, is it a portent for this afternoon’s game?

Edward June 16, 20161:44 pm

By the way, I know a lot of you were watching along with me yesterday afternoon. So do feel free to get in touch via Twitter (@dotmund) with any answers to questions, trivial tidbits or no doubt entirely justified complaints. I am keen to turn this into something akin to Test Match Special. But not Saturday Superstore. I am not doing birthdays or shout outs. I will not be Mike Read. I WILL not.

Edward June 16, 20161:45 pm

Full disclosure, I’ve not even turned the telly on yet. I advise you all to do the same, by the way. If no-one on earth tuned in until 3 minutes before every televised game, the TV schedulers will get the idea soon enough, don’t you doubt it.

Edward June 16, 20161:48 pm

I’m fascinated by Wales’ choice of togetherstronger as their campaign motto. Not two years since Scotland had an independence referendum, and a week before the UK EU membership referendum. Peculiar, isn’t it? What is their reasoning behind that one?

I have to tell you, I agree with them, but maybe I’m being misled as to what I’m agreeing with.

Edward June 16, 20161:53 pm

Boring James Milner remains the greatest football account on Twitter

Edward June 16, 20161:54 pm

The BBC have got FOUR pundits, dressed to a strict colour code of light shirts on the left and dark shirts on the right. Four pundits, though. Pundageddon.

Edward June 16, 20161:56 pm

Players in the tunnel. Harry Kane having some bants with his McDonald’s player escort. I wonder what the lad said to him? It looked like it hit home, whatever it was. A right slagging.

Edward June 16, 20161:57 pm

This is why international football is better than club football, though. Seeing those men, stood in that tunnel. On another occasion they’d been stood together for their clubs, or for opposing clubs. But here their loyalty can’t be bought. Superb.

Edward June 16, 20161:59 pm

I looked it up. Where I am now, at home in Brighton, to the Stade Bollaert-Denis, Lens is 132 miles as the crow flies. Just over the channel. And I’ll tell you this, the weather there is a damn sight better than it is here.

Edward June 16, 20162:00 pm

A rousing Welsh anthem. Ever uplifting. And now, just as a few of the English fans did to the Welsh, I’m sad to report, some Welsh fans take their opportunity to boo God Save The Queen.

Edward June 16, 20162:01 pm

Is the UK the only country whose national anthem doesn’t have a fixed title?

Edward June 16, 20162:03 pm

Wales are making the whole “wanting Wales to crash and burn but feeling quite bad about it at the same time” thing a WHOLE lot easier by wearing their fucking change strip. What a bell end move. Modern football is perhaps irretrievably broken.

Edward June 16, 20162:05 pm

The game has gone off at a hell of a pace, just as I would have expected to.

The BBC have gone for TWO co-commentators this afternoon, Robbie Savage AND Martin Keown joining Guy Mowbray in some kind of hellish charisma vortex.

Edward June 16, 20162:08 pm

England have gone onto the front foot and they have a corner, which I’m pleased to report that Wayne Rooney takes rather than Harry Kane. A more worrying sign for England’s chances is that Delle Alli just had a petulant little niggle with Aaron “Sir Alf” Ramsey. Not good, given his temperament.

Edward June 16, 20162:11 pm

I’m disappointed that Roy Hodgson has elected not to change the team, by the way. I would have liked to have seen Lallana pushed back into midfield with Wayne Rooney and Stirling replaced by Vardy.

He immediately demonstrates why this is. Lallana does some fine work down the right and puts the ball on a plate for Stirling, who blazes over. A crucial miss. Should have scored that one.

Edward June 16, 20162:12 pm

We should come up with some chants.

Edward June 16, 20162:13 pm

England look good going forward and shaky at the back. Much like they did against Russia, in fact. It’s almost as if England currently have far more international standard attacking players than defensive ones.

Edward June 16, 20162:14 pm

Northern Ireland are playing after this, too. What a moment. The UK, representin’.

Edward June 16, 20162:15 pm

In their fucking silly away kit, though. Fuck’s sake, England have to win this one.

Edward June 16, 20162:17 pm

Otherwise, all of a sudden you’ve Max Boyce, Rob Brydon and Errol the fucking Hamster sidling up to you and rasping “Oh you’ve got to play in the away kit against England, haven’t you? traditional”. As if this is a thing. Rather than it just being the result of one football match being superimposed over a completely arbitrary and needless administrative decision.

Edward June 16, 20162:18 pm

The English fans are chanting “shall we sing a song for you?” at the Welsh support. This is a deadly insult, when made to a Welshman.

Edward June 16, 20162:19 pm

The England players seem to have lost their way a little bit, having remembered that Wales aren’t shit.

Edward June 16, 20162:20 pm

Eric Dier looks like he’s been given the job of Nobby Stilesing Gareth Bale this afternoon.

Edward June 16, 20162:20 pm

Since he started playing in midfield, I’m sure Wayne Rooney has lost a stone in weight.

Edward June 16, 20162:22 pm

Gareth Bale is evidently not marking Eric Dier, though. From another Rooney corner, he is just inches short of a free header. Wales look suspect to set pieces today, which I wasn’t expecting.

Edward June 16, 20162:27 pm

England are trying a new tack. The slow build up. Very European, ironically.

Edward June 16, 20162:27 pm

Adam Lallana is having a good tournament. Growing into his role as an international, I think.

Edward June 16, 20162:29 pm

Another set piece, another chance for England. Wayne Rooney drifts his free kick onto the head of Gary Cahill, who can’t quite get on top of the ball enough to place it and just directs it into Hennessey’s loving arms.

Edward June 16, 20162:30 pm

Edward June 16, 20162:31 pm

A reminder that some people have it worse than others, there.

Edward June 16, 20162:31 pm

BLOODY AWAY KIT, THOUGH.

Edward June 16, 20162:33 pm

Half an hour played. Much ado about nothing.

Edward June 16, 20162:36 pm

A sustained period of pressure by England culminates in a penalty shout, for a handball by Ben Davies as he heads away from Harry Kane. Hard to call, really. It was definitely accidental, but at the same time could probably have been given if you followed the letter of the law. The referee makes the most sensible decision, I think.

Edward June 16, 20162:39 pm

Another set piece, another chance. Wayne Rooney’s far post corner lands on Chris Smalling, who heads a foot wide. A decent chance.

Edward June 16, 20162:40 pm

Harry Kane has had another anonymous match, so far, by the way. The clamour for Jamie Vardy, it be growin’. Like a tribal drumbeat.

Edward June 16, 20162:41 pm

Stirling, too. All of England’s joy is coming from down the right hand side, as a result.

Edward June 16, 20162:43 pm

I’m such a strong proponent of the diamond for England, I have to say. Regardless of the era, it always seems to be the best fit for the players we have. I think having two strikers to play off would help Alli, too.

Edward June 16, 20162:47 pm

Wales-wise, they’ve not been up to the same standard as they reached against Slovakia. They’re particularly struggling to get hold of the ball, or even look as though they particularly want it. They are, however, a goal up. Gareth Bale pulls a full Ronaldo free kick routine from 35 yards. Just as his Slovak counterpart did on Saturday, Joe Hart cocks it up. He gets two hands to the ball and yet still flaps it meekly inside his own post. Wales 1-0 England. 43 minutes.

Edward June 16, 20162:48 pm

The Welsh fans are celebrating like they’ve won the whole match. Which, considering England’s finishing today, they may well have done. Raheem Stirling’s miss earlier in this half looking more and more criminal. I remain to be convinced by Stirling at this level.

Edward June 16, 20162:50 pm

Half time in Lens. Wales lead England by 1-0, despite England’s domination.

Edward June 16, 20162:57 pm

The BBC punditmax unit are laying in to Raheem Stirling’s first half display. Quite rightly, too. He has been shocking. If Hodgson doesn’t change him for Vardy at half time, there will no doubt be a serious period of consultation waiting round the corner.

Edward June 16, 20163:04 pm

Sturridge AND Vardy are coming on at half time for England. Sturridge replaces Stirling and Vardy replaces Kane. Hodgson needed to be bold and has not disappointed.

Edward June 16, 20163:05 pm

We are back under way.

Edward June 16, 20163:08 pm

England have come out looking businesslike. Of course, they did just the same in the first half, so let’s wait and see.

Edward June 16, 20163:11 pm

England are besieging the Welsh penalty area. Kyle Walker’s work on the right hand side continually proving their outlet, which could suggest as to why they’re finding it tricky to break through.

Edward June 16, 20163:14 pm

Forgetting about the national significance, Wales are, of course, just under 40 minutes from qualifying for the last 16 of the European Championships, a terrific turnaround in their fortunes over the past few decades. Someone is doing something right, there.

Edward June 16, 20163:17 pm

Vardy equalises for England. Sturridge receives the ball on the left of a crowded penalty box but elects to cross it instead of shoot. The eagle-eyed officials spot that it is knocked on by the head of Ashley Williams and Vardy prods home from a yard out as the Welsh players bitterly protest for offside. England 1-1 Wales.

Edward June 16, 20163:19 pm

Wales on the wobble. Walker cuts down to the byline and crosses to Vardy, who is just beaten to the header. Corner to England.

Edward June 16, 20163:20 pm

England are looking a lot more dynamic now. Since they switched to the (all together) DIAMOND.

Edward June 16, 20163:22 pm

Den Bavies receives the first booking of the game for a tackle that goes over the top of Lallana’s boot. From the resulting free kick, England have a couple of half chances to score but the ball doesn’t quite fall right for Vardy or Dier.

Edward June 16, 20163:23 pm

It is all England now. Sturridge air swings at a half volley from 12 yards out. This means that Wales will soon score.

Edward June 16, 20163:26 pm

Joe Ledley makes way for David Edwards. The Wales fans give his beard a fine reception.

Edward June 16, 20163:29 pm

Edward June 16, 20163:31 pm

Roy is obviously enduring a menopausal hot flush, as he prepares Rarcus Mashford as his final substitute. Wales are thinking more defensively, Robson-Kanu off for Jonathan Williams.

Edward June 16, 20163:33 pm

Adam Lallana is the player coming off for Mashford. Here is the advantage of the youth of the English squad: there’s no-one in particular who doesn’t have the legs to play the full 90 minutes.

Edward June 16, 20163:34 pm

Jonathan Williams goes down like a trout in the English box. Is told to get the fuck up by several million people. However, Wales are offering a little more with Williams linking the midfield and attack more than Robson-Kanu did.

Edward June 16, 20163:36 pm

Edward June 16, 20163:36 pm

75 minutes played, 1-1. Another exciting match. This could still be anyone’s.

Edward June 16, 20163:37 pm

The bluebottle is back, by the way.

Edward June 16, 20163:41 pm

The Welsh team are making the most of their experience of playing for lower-table Premier League outfits who have to defend a lot. They look very solid as a unit.

Edward June 16, 20163:42 pm

Alli is getting involved now that Rarcus Mashford has entered the fray. England still look the more likely to score. But then, that’s what happened in the first half.

Edward June 16, 20163:45 pm

Rarcus Mashford “has come into this as though he’s having a kickabout in the park”, queefs Guy Mowbray. Well, to let you in on a bit of a secret, Guy: the skills required in each case are very easily transferable.

Edward June 16, 20163:46 pm

Kyle Walker sets off down the right again. And every Englishman will surely be saying, “go on, run at them”.

Edward June 16, 20163:48 pm

Two plus bits to play. Wales are dug in like Owain Glyndwr.

Edward June 16, 20163:48 pm

Edward June 16, 20163:50 pm

Three added minutes indicated, as Smalling is forced to head the ball away from Bale in the England area.

Edward June 16, 20163:50 pm

GOAL!

Edward June 16, 20163:52 pm

Daniel Sturridge tries a one two, gets a lucky deflection and dances through the massed Welsh hoardes to prod in at Wayne Hennessey’s near post. England 2-1 Wales, 90+2 played.

Edward June 16, 20163:53 pm

I just wish… I just wish Stevie G were here to see this.

Edward June 16, 20163:53 pm

England are still England, though, and Bale heads just wide after an enormous jump.

Edward June 16, 20163:58 pm

FULL TIME: England 2-1 Wales. England deserve their victory and should have won by more. Full credit to Roy Hodgson. He needed to roll the dice and he did so with great aplomb. This is only the second time that England have won a match at an international tournament under Hodgson’s management; it is the first time they have ever come back from being behind to win at an international tournament. Wales were as timid as Roy was bold. In the second half they went in to a full retreat, having not created enough despite going in at half time with a 1-0 lead.

For England, it’s a win that should see them qualify for the knockout stage, regardless of the result against Slovakia. Wales, too, should not be too disheartened. A point against a poor Russia team next week would probably be enough.

Edward June 16, 20164:05 pm

Edward June 16, 20164:14 pm

Anyway. A peculiar day to be a British person, by all accounts. We’re back in about half an hour for Northern Ireland’s match with Ukraine.