Wales nabbed first place in Group B as England toiled in vain to try and grab victory with a much-changed side…
Roy Hodgson’s men qualified for the final 16 of Euro 2016 though there was derision from England fans following the surrendering of top place in Group B.
1. Rested players
Six changes meant a slight change in formation as Jordan Henderson and Jack Wilshere got a run-out, while Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge earnt first starts while the two full-backs were swapped out.
2. Tactical flexibility proven
The alterations meant that Sturridge played wide of Vardy with Adam Lallana drifting into wide areas too. And the sharing of game time is likely to have a good effect on the squad while key players were rested too.
And largely the new tactics worked as England dominated against Slovakia and Matus Kozacik was named as UEFA’s man of the match.
3. Two great right-backs
One particular item of note was the marauding of Nathaniel Clyne down the Three Lions’ flank. Hodgson is blessed with two great right-backs, and Kyle Walker might fear for his place after the Liverpool man proved an effective source of creation while marshalling his defensive zone well.
4. Henderson effective
Another bright note was the solid display of Jordan Henderson who made the most ball recoveries during the game through a typically energetic performance, and who created several good chances for his team-mates in the final third. Notably it was his superb long pass that release Vardy with just the keeper to beat.
5. Another good performance, if not result
Unfortunately for England they dominated but couldn’t break down the Slovakian defence who solidified as the game wore on and clung to the hope of a late sucker punch.
England now roll on to Nice in a week’s time and a likely quarter-final against France should they clear the next hurdle.