Daniel Sturridge scored in injury time to complete England’s come from behind win over Wales in Lens on Thursday.
England manager Roy Hodgson opted for the same starting XI that drew 1-1 with Russia while Wales made three changes to the side that beat Slovakia. Wayne Hennessey reclaimed the gloves while goal scorer Hal Robson-Kanu and Joe Ledley earned their first start of Euro 2016.
Raheem Sterling wasted a glorious chance to open the scoring in the seventh minute when he failed to tap Adam Lallana’s beautifully weighted cross.
England dominated possession and territory but failed to create any clear cut chances with Wales already making their intentions known as they sat back and sucked up the pressure.
Gary Cahill got on the end on Wayne Rooney’s free kick in the 26th minute but he failed to beat the Welsh shotstopper. Just over 10 minutes later, Chris Smalling combined with Rooney but again his header failed to send England into the lead as his shot drifted wide.
Gareth Bale turned the match on its head when he beat Joe Hart from 30 metres out from a pin point free kick. Hart scrambled to his left and got a palm onto Bale’s effort but it was not enough as to deny Bale from scoring.
Wales led at the break despite making 106 passes compared to England’s 249. England completed 86% (Wales 65%) of their passes and had six shots (Wales 4) but trailed their neighbours on the scoreboard.
Hodgson, under pressure to change England’s destiny in France, made two changes at the break as Harry Kane and Sterling made way for Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge.
The changes initially did not change the flow of the match as England continued their dominance but failed to draw level.
Rooney beat Ramsey but failed to curl his effort on target. Vardy drew England level a minute later after stroking home from close range.
Wales’ cries for offside were correctly waved away as replays showed that Swansea City defender Ashley Williams was the last person to touch the ball before Vardy’s strike. The Leicester City forward took his tally to four goals in his last five international appearances.
The goal lifted England as Sturridge went close but he couldn’t keep his rising shot on target. With time running out, Hodgson handed Manchester United teenager Marcus Rashford his tournament debut as Lallana made way.
Wales, with three points already to their name, had just 36% of the ball but defended valiantly as they threw bodies at every 50-50 ball and closed down any opposition player in an advanced position.
Liverpool forward Sturridge made England’s domination pay in time added on as he poked home past Hennessey. The goal coming from some slick interplay involving himself, Vardy and then finishing it to send the packed crowd in Lens into hysterics and England to the top of the group.