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Euro 2016 Group B Tips: England and Wales to lock horns

Thomas Rooney 30 May 2016
  • Who is going to progress from Group B at Euro 2016?
  • We've got fixtures, tips and much more for England's group in France 
England's striker Wayne Rooney (2R) celebrates with team mates

A fascinating Group B houses two sides with vast European Championship experience, alongside a pair of in-form nations making their debut in this competition.

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England are aiming to mark the 50-year anniversary of their World Cup triumph by landing a first European Championship title in 2016 and start out as justifiable favourites to progress to the knock-out phase as group winners.

However, it is unlikely to be all plain sailing for the Three Lions, with fearless newcomers Wales and Slovakia looking to seize their opportunity, while former champions Russia also vie for supremacy.

With the tournament now accommodating 24 teams as opposed to 16, the top four third-placed finishers with the highest points tally will also advance to the knock-out rounds, adding an extra incentive for sides in this closely-matched quartet. 

Teams involved

England EVS with Ladbrokes

The Three Lions enter the competition on the back of their most successful qualifying campaign ever, having taken maximum 30 points from their 10 fixtures.Roy Hodgson’s men head to France with a renewed sense of optimism as they look to banish the nightmare that was their 2014 World Cup campaign – which saw them exit at the group stage without a win to their name.

Since that humbling in Brazil, the squad has witnessed a changing of the guard, with a series of young, and relatively untested players stepping up to the plate, including the likes of Dele Alli, John Stones, Eric Dier and Jamie Vardy.

John Stones of England in action (Getty)

Traditionally, England have made hard work of so called 'easy groups' down the years, but on paper, there really is no reason why they can't comfortably progress in top spot.

The top two in Group B will advance to the last 16 alongside potentially the third-place finisher depending on points accumulated in comparison to other groups, making it highly likely England will feature in the knock-out phase.

Russia - 7/2 with BetVictor

Russia aim to make a signal of intent ahead of their 2018 World Cup campaign on home soil and have fond memories of this tournament, having reached the Semi-Finals and finished third in 2008. 

Head coach Leonid Slutsky, who replaced Fabio Capello in July, led his side to second spot in their qualifying group behind Austria, notably winning their last four matches to leapfrog Sweden into the automatic places. 

All but two of their current squad members play their domestic football in Russia, with key players including captain Roman Shirokov, Zenit striker Artyom Dzyuba and defensive stalwart Sergei Ignashevich – who has 114 caps for his country.

A well-organised and typically tough side to break down, Russia will fancy their chances of getting out of the group and building up a head of steam before they welcome the world in two years’ time.

Wales - 5/1 with William Hill

Wales are making only their second ever appearance at a major tournament, with their first having come way back in 1958.

Chris Coleman’s side performed a minor footballing miracle by securing second spot in a qualifying group which also included Belgium and Bosnia and Herzegovina to ensure a debut in this competition.

They head to France riding the crest of wave, and with little expected of them, the players will be out to enjoy the occasion and play without pressure.

Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale is undoubtedly Wales’ key man and will be integral to their chances of continuing this fairy-tale run, while the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Ashley Williams also add vital Premier League experience.

Slovakia - 11/1 with Unibet

The dark horses of the group, Slovakia enjoyed an impressive qualifying campaign which has led them to their first European Championship since splitting from Czechoslovakia in 1993.

They finished second in qualifying with 22 points from a possible 30, underlining their quality with a 2-0 win over reigning champions Spain along the way.

Róbert Vittek has 23 goals in 81 caps for Slovakia and captain Martin Škrtel is a familiar face for Liverpool fans, while Vladimír Weiss also has Premier League experience.

The debutants may be the outsiders of this quartet, but write them off at your peril. The squad boasts a wealth of both youth and experience and could cause problems should they replicate their qualifying form.

One to watch - Gareth Bale 

Rarely has any nation been so dependent on one player to perform in a major tournament, with 

Wales' hopes resting firmly on the shoulders of the Real Madrid winger.Keeping Bale fit and firing will be integral to their chances of success next summer and it will be intriguing to see how he fares on his long-awaited international tournament debut.

Wales player Gareth Bale in action (Getty)

Bale was top scorer in Wales' landmark qualifying campaign with seven goals, taking his overall tally to 19 in 54 appearances - making him the joint fifth highest scorer in Welsh football history. 

With set-pieces, deliveries from wide areas and presence in the opposition penalty area all predominantly coming through the 26-year-old, he carries a big weight of expectation on his shoulders and could be the man of the moment in Group B.


All times BST

June 11
5pm Wales v Slovakia, Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux 
8pm England v Russia, Stade Vélodrome, Marseille (FRA)

June 15
2pm Russia v Slovakia, Grand Stade Lille Métropole, Lille 
2pm England v Wales Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens 

June 20
8pm Slovakia v England, Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Etienne 
8pm Russia v Wales, Stadium Municipal, Toulouse

Our Prediction

On paper, it would appear that England have fallen on their feet as far as the group stage draw is concerned and should go through as comfortable group winners.

Hodgson’s men must learn from the mistakes made during the last World Cup campaign and eradicate the negative approach which has blighted England teams down the years.

England's coach Roy Hodgson (Getty)

Should England transfer the attacking and possession football responsible for their unbeaten record in qualifying then it’s difficult to envisage them not topping this group.

From there on, second spot is wide open, and although Russia are well-poised to take it, expect a close challenge from the two newcomers, particularly Wales – who will be backed by a huge travelling army in France.

Recommended bet:
England to win the group @ Evens with Ladbrokes

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Euro 2016 Group B Tips: England and Wales to lock horns

A fascinating Group B houses two sides with vast European Championship experience, alongside a pair of in-form nations making their debut in this competition.

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