By Liz Manning (England) & Dan Eales (Wales)

England (Liz Manning)

I remember the last time I watched an England vs Wales match, it was the Rugby World Cup late last year where Wales beat England 28-25.

Obviously I hope England win,” my boyfriend Ollie told me before the match, “but you know what? If they don’t, that’s ok. It’s just a game”.

I couldn’t bring myself to remind him of those famous last words a few hours later, after the disappointing defeat. Ollie rarely runs out of things to say, so it’s quite jarring when he doesn’t speak or make eye contact for hours. As he sipped sullenly on his beer, you’d have thought someone had died.

Being a novice sports watcher, I enjoy not minding who wins. I can’t imagine how anyone enjoys sport if it bothers them so much when their team loses. But then, Desperate Housewives is my favourite TV show and I’ve cried during many an episode, so perhaps it’s an investment-related thing.

Last match recap

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Eric Dier leads the celebrations after his unexpected free kick broke the deadlock.

England’s last match was against Russia on Saturday night. In case you didn’t watch, England did pretty well for most of the game. Not like, amazingly well, however, and Russia managed to score during injury time to draw the match. I was out of the room when Russia scored (making a cup of tea, classic getaway tactics), but I heard my father make a noise that I can only compare to a distressed sea lion. I can only imagine that England fans made similar noises up and down the country.

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England look on dejected as Russia steal a point in stoppage time.

How I will watch it

If the weather is nice, going to a pub and watching it might be nice. Ollie is at work though (he’s found a boardroom to watch it in), and watching a whole football match alone is going to be a big milestone for me, and I’m not sure I won’t go a bit stir crazy. I’ll have to ensure I’ve got things to do whilst the match it on if I put it on at home, like making copious cups of tea or online shopping. I’ll have my cat Apollo and my dog Poppy for company.

Prediction: England 1 – 1 Wales

There’s a lot at stake for both teams for this home nations derby. England are strong attackers, but Wales demonstrated exceptional defending in their first game against Slovakia. I think it’s a no-brainer that England are going to have to step up their game if they want to beat Wales, who are currently the front runners in Group B, having taken all 3 points from their first game.

Wales (Dan Eales)

How I will watch it

Thankfully I am one of the lucky ones that won’t be in work come 2pm, which means I’ll be popping on my England 82 shirt and heading down to my local. As much as I desperately want to see England come away with a much needed victory, it could be bittersweet as the sweepstake has seen Wales steal a place in my heart. My allegiances may be split come kick off, but with England most likely taking the lions share.

Last match recap

Even though I was sat at home for the Slovakia game, roughly 750 miles away, it was blatantly obvious the atmosphere inside the Stade de Bordeaux was electrifying. You could have been forgiven for thinking the game was in Cardiff as the sea of red belted out the national anthem. It was that emotional beginning that set the tone, Wales were fired up, focused and demonstrated a togetherness that many will envy.

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Bale and Co embrace the bench after his free kick opened the scoring.

However it could have been all so different four minutes in if not for a decisive goal line clearance from Ben Davies. The left back’s last ditch intervention prevented Marek Hamšik from capping of a slaloming run with the opening goal. Six minutes later and it was Gareth Bale’s moment in the spotlight. 30 yards out with the wall and keeper to beat, Bale had the stadium rocking, and me on my feet, as he sent the ball up and over the wall and past the questionable Kozáčik.

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Ecstatic Wales’ bury Hal Robson-Kanu in front of their Jubilant fans.

Wales felt they should have been awarded a penalty after a reckless Martin Škrtel challenge. Jonny Williams received a mighty elbow to the face, which was delivered with the technique an MMA fighter would of been proud of. After the break it was Slovakia that hit the net first, with substitute Ondrej Duda bringing Wales crashing back down to earth. As the game neared it’s close, Joe Ledley split the Slovakian midfield in half sending the instrumental Aaron Ramsey on his way to set up Hal Robson-Kanu, who scuffed his shot into the bottom right and sent the Welsh contingent into jubilant rapture.

Prediction: England 1 – 1 Wales

After the triumphant 2-1 victory over Slovakia, The Wales’ camp will have been bouncing in the lead up to today. Especially after Russia’s late late equaliser snatched a valuable two points from England’s grasp and Vasili Berezutski’s goal leaving Wales firmly in the driving seat of Group B. With England under pressure to register a win to alleviate any unwanted pressure, they will be heavily invested in creating chances higher up the pitch, which could leave their unconvincing defence exposed to the Welsh counter attack. Coleman will be quietly confident his team can pick up a positive result against an injury stricken Russia, so Wales will go into the game knowing that anything but a loss to the Three Lions will be enough to almost certainly book a place in the last 16.