England vs. Wales Betting Preview — Liverpool friends become foes at Euro 2016

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England face Wales in Euro 2016 on Thursday afternoon (2pm UK), in a crucial Group B showdown. We bring you a betting preview ahead of the game.

The tournament in France is now in full swing, with a number of entertaining, unpredictable matches already taking place.

England started their campaign with a 1-1 draw with Russia on Saturday, conceding a stoppage-time equaliser, while Wales beat Slovakia 2-1 a few hours earlier.

Thursday’s clash between the two British nations promises to be a tense, dramatic affair, and defeat for the Three Lions would heap enormous pressure on them going into their final group match against Martin Skrtel’s Slovakia.

The Match

CARDIFF, WALES - Friday, November 13, 2015: Wales' Joe Allen in action against the Netherlands during the International Friendly match at the Cardiff City Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Chris Coleman’s Wales outfit may be brimming with confidence after their opening win, topping the group in the process, but England are still resounding favourites with the bookies. They remain 11/13 to finish at the top of Group B according to Zack Garrison of Sports Betting Dime.

Roy Hodgson’s men are 4/7 to pick up a much-needed victory, which suggests they remain far superior to their opponents.

Wales are 5/1 to win a second successive match, and qualify for the last-16, while the draw is 3/1. The latter arguably feels like the best bet of the three.

The match is likely to be cagey, and chances could be at a premium.

Liverpool Involvement

Picture by: Tim Goode / PA Wire/Press Association Images England's Jordan Henderson during the International Friendly at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland.

There are as many as seven Liverpool players who could feature in Lens on Thursday afternoon.

Goalkeeper Danny Ward started for Wales on Saturday, but Wayne Hennessey’s return from injury looks set to see the Reds youngster return to the substitutes’ bench.

Joe Allen impressed in the middle of the park, as he did so often for Liverpool last season, and he will again be a key figure against the English. He is 33/1 to score first, which may not be the worst bet in the world.

Despite Liverpool having five players in the England squad, only Adam Lallana begun proceedings in the aforementioned draw with Russia.

The 28-year-old was a lively figure throughout, and although his finishing can let him down on occasions, his 15/2 odds to open the scoring look good value.

Nathaniel Clyne, Jordan Henderson and James Milner are all likely to start on the bench again, although there are rumours that Daniel Sturridge could come into the starting line-up.

Harry Kane looked sluggish against the Russians, and to have a player of Sturridge’s quality simply watching the action feels like a crime against football. The 26-year-old is 7/5 to score anytime.

Other Tips

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Wales have gained a reputation for being tough to beat, with the counter-attacking threat of Gareth Bale their most potent weapon.

To say that England have been bland under Hodgson would be an understatement, so don’t expect there to be many goals on Thursday.

Backing under 2.5 goals looks a shoo-in of a bet at 8/11, and great value, while under 1.5 could even be worth a punt, at 12/5.

Putting your money on only Wales to score at 17/2 also seems very generous, despite the attacking quality at England’s disposal.

The game is sure to be feisty from start to finish, with no love lost between the two countries when it comes to sport.

England have a history of picking up high-profile red cards in major tournaments, and backing there to be a sending-off at 11/4 could be worth your while.

The Liverpool players on either side may be good friends, but don’t expect there to be too many pleasantries on show in Lens.

Prediction

BORDEAUX, FRANCE - Saturday, June 11, 2016: Wales' goalkeeper Daniel Ward warms-up before the UEFA Euro 2016 Championship match against Slovakia at Stade de Bordeaux. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This is definitely one of the trickiest matches of the tournament to predict so far, and the game is likely to be decided by either a moment of magic or an error.

Both sides will be desperate to avoid defeat, which may make for a defence-minded clash.

Aside from Bale, Wales are lacking genuine class in attacking areas, whereas England have several players who can hurt teams on their day.

Because of this, the Three Lions will nick it 1-0. Don’t be surprised to see Sturridge make the difference, whether it be from the start or in a cameo role.

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