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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