England substitutes Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge both scored off the bench to pull off a remarkable come from behind win against rivals Wales.
Roy Hodgson’s substitutes may have given the English manager an added lifeline, after they looked dead and buried against Wales in the first half.
It was game everyone had been waiting for; the clash between two neighboring rivals from the United Kingdom.
Both teams are no strangers to one another, with majority of both squads playing out of England’s top tiers. Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens had a familiar appearance to that of Aston Villa’s- Villa park with the open gaps between the terraces.
The raw emotion from the fans was clearly embedded into the players early, in a scrappy opening. There was no hiding the historic Northern London rivalry either, as England’s Delle Alli (Tottenham) and Wales’ Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) went head to head on a number of hard-hitting challenges.
The first real chance came for the Three Lions, as Adam Lallana broke on the right wing playing a picture perfect ball to Raheem Sterling. It was an opportunity for the heavily criticized youngster to redeem himself to the fans, instead he fluffed another point blank range chance over the bar.
Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey were the live-wires for The Dragons, playing the role as the main ball distributors.
Roy Hodgson must have listened to the displeasure from the fans, after England’s front target man was taking corners against Russia. Wayne Rooney was now on corner duty and found the head of Gary Cahill from his first delivery, only to be saved by Welsh keeper Wayne Hennessey.
Controversy sprung into life at the half hour mark, after England were robbed of a penalty from a blatant handball from Ben Davies in the penalty area.
Wales were soon rewarded for all their hustle and bustle in the midfield, as Bale scored a free kick from 30 yards. Bale’s free kick should never have been a goal, after England goalkeeper Joe Hart made a total mess of his attempted save.
— Fan Footage Goals (@FanFootageGoals) June 16, 2016
The English fans made their feelings known at the half time break. Roy Hodgson was also questioned for leaving his side unchanged from the game against Russia last week.
Finally the moment everyone had been waiting for had arrived. Fan favorite Jamie Vardy entered the pitch to a roar from the English faithful, as Harry Kane and Sterling made way.
It took just 10 minutes for Vardy to create an impact, scoring a poachers goal after the ball was deflected off the head of Ashley Williams.
— Juan Direction (@JuanDirection57) June 16, 2016
The second half was all England, as Wales did their best to hold on for a 1-1 draw. With only three minutes of stoppage time remaining, it seemed like the match would stay level. Of course the tale of the Euros tells a story of late goals in the dying minutes.
As England pushed forward into Wales penalty area, Sturridge appeared out of nowhere to toe poke a last gasp winner and send the fans into absolute delirium.
— Euro 2016 (@EK_2016France) June 16, 2016