After the attacking prowess England showed in hitting Iran for six, Friday’s second outing for the Three Lions ended in a frustrating 0-0 draw. Although England only allowed one shot on target, that statistic doesn’t include Christian Pulisic hitting the bar — the closest either side came to a goal. Once again, Wales had Gareth Bale to thank for securing them a point against the USA. But even the Los Angeles FC star couldn’t bail them out of trouble against Iran. Wales were looking vulnerable even before Wayne Hennessey’s sending off and suffered a disappointing 2-0 defeat. England and Wales have met 103 times, with the Three Lions having enjoyed the lions’ share of success, with 68 wins. There have been 21 draws, and the most recent of Wales’ 14 victories came in 1984. That said, familiarity is a great leveller, as Scotland showed in holding England to a draw at the Euros. At the previous Euros, Wales were only denied a point against their rivals from across the Severn Bridge in injury time. The FIFA Rankings also suggest it won’t be an easy outing for fifth-ranked England against The Dragons, ranked 19th in the world
Despite being arguably England’s best young player, Phil Foden has only played a little more than 20 minutes in this tournament. His potential inclusion will be one of the key selection dilemmas for Gareth Southgate, who seems to have settled on a 4-3-3 system. Wales are likely to stick with their tried and tested 3-4-2-1 formation, with Joe Allen, a second-half substitute against Iran, in contention to start after an injury layoff. A win or a draw will put England through, and their strong goal difference means they could even survive a narrow loss. Wales must win to stand any chance of progressing, as well as securing local bragging rights.