England can secure top spot in Group B with victory in St-Etienne on Monday night.
After a disappointing defeat in their opening game against Wales, Slovakia were impressive in winning their next game over Russia and, as a result, a point or better in this one would give them a good chance of qualification. England, meanwhile, managed to turn things around against Wales thanks to some aggressive half-time substitutions from Roy Hodgson as they came from behind to win 2-1. A win here would see them top the group, while a draw may also be enough, should Wales fail to beat Russia.
Slovakia’s defeat against Wales was their first in 10 games and in truth they were probably unfortunate to have lost that match as they dominated possession and also had more shots. Their record when playing teams that are ranked between 19 and 39 places above them is W2-D1-L6 since 2011 as they failed to score in five of the six defeats, but only two were by more than one goal.
While the England camp will no doubt be buoyant after the manner of their win over Wales, Roy Hodgson will surely have some concerns about his side defensively as they’ve now kept only one clean sheet in their last seven games and that came against a Ronaldo-less Portugal who were reduced to 10 men early on in the game. When playing teams that they’re between 19 and 39 places clear of in our rankings, England are W5-D4-L0 since 2012 with just three clean sheets.
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Slovakia are a side in decent form and they’ve also won five of their last six matches against top-20 ranked sides, including victories over Spain and Germany. Since England are struggling defensively, both teams to score looks a solid play in this one at 2.12, as has been the case in six of their last seven matches. Over 2.5 Goals is also worth consideration since the final group games at Euro Championships since 1992 have seen Over 2.5 Goals land in 59% of matches – as opposed to 36% in the first and second matches.
In terms of the match outcome, the best play looks to be dutching the draw at 3.5 and England to win by one goal at 3.6, since the last time England won a game at a major tournament by more than one goal was a 2-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago in the 2006 World Cup, and even then their goals came in the 83rd and 90th minute.
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