Lens - Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge rose from the bench to score as
England came from behind to defeat neighbours Wales 2-1 in Thursday's
all-British Euro 2016 clash in Lens.
Just as he had in Wales's
opening 2-1 win over Slovakia, Gareth Bale put Chris Coleman's side
ahead with a long-range free-kick, which England goalkeeper Joe Hart
could only fumble into the net.
But Vardy and Sturridge came on at
half-time and after the former had equalised in the 56th minute, the
latter smuggled in a stoppage-time winner that fired Roy Hodgson's men
to the top of the group.
"When the chances don't go in and you've
compounded your task by conceding that Gareth Bale goal, it really is a
happy moment when both the substitutes score," said Hodgson.
"I thought it was on the cards all the way through the second half."
are a point back in second place, above Slovakia on head-to-head
record, and need to beat Russia in Toulouse on Monday to guarantee one
of the two automatic qualifying berths.
"Obviously it is massively disappointing, but I am very proud of everybody," said Bale. "We keep fighting all the way."
draw against Slovakia in Saint-Etienne will suffice for England and
they will approach the game with renewed optimism after belatedly
kicking their tournament into gear.
It was the 102nd meeting
between the teams, but the first at a major championship, and the boxy,
British-style Stade Bollaert-Delelis provided an ideal setting on a day
when fears of fan violence failed to materialise.
first-choice goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey after he missed the win over
Slovakia due to a back spasm, as well as Joe Ledley and Hal Robson-Kanu,
who came off the bench in Bordeaux to score the winner.
meant that Wales were at full strength, they were content to let
England, who were unchanged, force the issue and it was Hodgson's men
who bossed the first half on a sunny afternoon in northern France.
should have taken the lead in the seventh minute when Harry Kane freed
Adam Lallana to cross for Raheem Sterling, but from seven yards out the
Manchester City man could only slide the ball over the bar.
Cahill and Chris Smalling threatened with headers, while the most
contentious incident of the first period saw Kane denied a penalty when
his close-range header struck Ben Davies's outstretched left hand.
Welsh antagoniser-in-chief in the build-up to the game, had been a
peripheral figure, save for a shot that was blocked by Cahill, but three
minutes before half-time he strode onto centre-stage.
Rooney's foul on Robson-Kanu gave Wales a free-kick 35 yards out in a
central position. Though Bale's shot had vicious pace and dip, Hart
should have done better than palm it inside his left-hand post.
It made the Real Madrid forward the first Wales player to score against England since Mark Hughes, on his debut, in May 1984.
When the half-time whistle came, it drew a cascade of boos from the England end.
was quick to react, sending on Leicester City star Vardy and
Liverpool's Sturridge for Kane and Sterling at the break, and after
Rooney had seen a low curler palmed behind by Hennessey, his side
Sturridge's flighted cross from the left was knocked
down at the back post and Vardy swivelled to tuck away his fourth
He was standing around four yards offside, but
replays showed that the previous touch had come from Wales captain
The on-pitch scene soon resembled the Alamo as
Hodgson threw on teenage Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford for
Lallana, leaving England with four of their five named forwards on the
Despite the charge it seemed Wales would hold out, only for
Sturridge to collect Dele Alli's clever flick and steer a shot inside
Hennessey's near post in the 91st minute, silencing the Welsh hordes.