England can't afford any more slip ups in Group B but Wales go into this match full of confidence.
The point against Russia, who we rate as the second best team in this pool, extended England’s unbeaten record in competitive matches to 12 matches (W10-D2-L0). Over a similar period and including friendlies, England have an incredible record facing sides ranked 41-80: W27-D11-L0 including seven wins in their last eight as they’ve netted at least three times on five occasions.
Wales have lost four of their last seven matches facing teams ranked 11-20 and they’ve lost to nil in their four matches against England since 2006. We have a huge 43 ranking places between these sides and looking at similar matches (when one side is 30-55 places above the other in group stage matches) we can see that the favourite team have won in 55% of the matches. Even with such a disparity between the teams just 45% of these games have had Over 2.5 Goals and that immediately puts us off backing overs given Wales’ struggles against better teams.
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Wales will have a great idea of their chances of qualifying by the time this game starts as Slovakia and Russia meet on Wednesday night. It’s likely that their 2-1 win over Slovakia in their opener means that a point here will secure their passage through to the knockout phase – a huge achievement in their first finals since 1958. The easiest way of achieving a point will be sitting back and hoping they can keep a clean sheet while trusting Bale and Co to do some damage on the counter.
Furthering the case for Under 2.5 Goals is the record of lower-ranked teams who have won their first match facing higher-ranked teams who have picked up a draw in group stages of Finals: W11-D16-L13 with a huge 73% of Under 2.5 Goals games as the weaker sides have looked for a draw.
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