Both England and Slovakia look for a win to gain automatic qualification into the round of 16, when they meet for the final Euro 2016 Group B match at Stade Geoffroy Guichard in Saint-Etienne on Monday night.
England were staring at another draw in their second group game against Wales, before Daniel Sturridge scored the winner deep into the injury time. The Three Lions started with the same eleven as in the 1-1 draw against Russia once again squandered plenty of chances before going behind to a Gareth Bale’s free kick in the 40th minute. Roy Hodgson’s decision to substitute Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane for Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge proved to be a hit, as both strikers contributed with goals.
Slovakia on the other hand earned their first ever victory at a European Championships by defeating Russia 2-1. Thanks to a brilliant performance by Marek Hamsik, who assisted Vladimir Weiss for the first goal and go on score sheet with a thunderous strike to give his team a 2-0 lead at half-time. But Slovakia’s defense had to stand heavy pressure in the later stages of second half, but managed to hold on to put them in a perfect position to qualify for the round of 16.
England now sit top of the group with 4 points, but both Wales and Slovakia are behind them with 3 points and anything can happen on matchday 3 in the wide open Group B.
Slovakia: Team News
Norbert Gyombér remains a minor doubt with injury and Jan Kozak has no fresh injury concers or players suspended. He is expected to field an unchanged eleven that started in the team’s 2-1 win over Russia.
Slovakia: Predicted Line-up (4-2-3-1)
Kozacik – Hubocan, Durica, Skrtel, Pekarik – Hrosovsky, Kucka – Weiss, Hamsik, Mak – Nemec.
England Team News:
Roy Hodgson confirmed that he will be resting six players including Rooney, who started in the previous games for the final Group B clash against Slovakia.
Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling were poor in the first two games and deservingly got the axe and will be replaced by Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge.
Jordan Henderson and Jack Wilshere will earn their first start in the midfield at the expense of Dele Alli and Wayne Rooney with the formation being changed to 4-3-3.
Both Tottenham wing backs Kyle Walker and Danny Rose are rested and they will make way for Ryan Bertrand and Nathaniel Clyne.
Joe Hart is also under heavy criticism after the howler that led to Wales’ first goal, but he could still start in goal for England.
England: Predicted Line-up (4-3-3)
Hart – Bertrand, Cahill, Smalling, Clyne – Dier, Wilshere, Henderson – Lallana, Sturridge, Vardy.
Slovakia vs England: Head-to-Head Stats
England and Slovakia had met only on three occasions and the Three Lions hold a 100% win record after winning in all of the three.
The last meeting between the sides was in a friendly on March 2009 at the Wembley Stadium, England under Fabio Capello winning 4-0 on that occasion, with Rooney scoring two of those goals.
The other two meeting was in the Euro 2004 qualification fixture, England won both home and away leg by the same 2-1 scoreline.
Slovakia vs England: Prediction
If England could replicate the second half performance in the 2-1 win over Wales, they should easily go past Slovakia to finish as Group A winners. Marek Hamsik is a major threat and England midfielders must do well to keep him under control.
England have won in all the three meetings against Slovakia so far and will be looking to extend their winning run here. Roy Hodgson decision to hand Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge the starts could be the ultimate answer to their goal scoring crisis.
Despite controlling the possession for most parts in the previous games, England made it a habit of conceding easy goals. At the same time, too many changes in the midfield and defense could affect England’s shape and I back Slovakia to score at least a goal here. So “both teams to score” is a relatively safe tip for this game. We could well witness over 2.5 goals at the end of full 90 minutes.
Exact Score Prediction: Slovakia 1-2 England.
- England to win.
- First Half over 0.5 goals
- Jamie Vardy to score any-time.
- Over 2.5 goals.
- Both Teams to Score.