By Liz Manning (England), Tom Clarke (Slovakia), Aidan Slinn (Russia) & Dan Eales (Wales)

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England (Liz Manning)

Last time out

I legitimately watched the last match, alone! I felt like a real fan. And what an exciting one it was, too! I can now engage in real football conversations because I have real football opinions, like “It’s a good thing Hodgson decided to bring Vardy on in the second half.” And “Blimey that Gareth Bale is good. I like his man bun.” You know, football-y, geezer-y opinions and that. Perhaps I’m a much better lone ranger fan, rather than watching it with Ollie trying to teach me things.

Me and my companions for tonight's England game

Me and my companions for tonight’s England game

How I will watch it

I have already watched a game on Sunday night in a bar in France, and it didn’t even involve one of my sweepstake teams. Normally I’d argue that I’ve already met my football quota, but in spite of myself I actually want to watch this game. So I’ll be watching, somewhere in the Normandy countryside. They don’t expect it, but I’ll be watching.

Prediction: Slovakia 1 – 2 England

I have extremely high hopes now, after England’s last performance. Oh no, am I turning into… an actual fan? I would think that Wales are a harder team to beat than Slovakia (sorry Slovakia, I’ve just never heard anything about you!) so I think England can achieve a 2-1 score easily. Plus, the woman in me wants to see Daniel Sturridge’s victory dance again, and the masochist in me wants to see Wayne Rooney’s face yelling into the camera – nay, yelling into my soul. Come on England!

Wayne Rooney celebrates Sturridge's winner against Wales

Wayne Rooney celebrates Sturridge’s winner against Wales

 

Final group standings:

  1. England
  2. Wales
  3. Slovakia
  4. Russia

Slovakia (Tom Clarke)

I will miss this game as I’m travelling across Australia!

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Russia (Aidan Slinn)

Last time out

Russia manager Leonid Slutsky could make a number of changes for the game against Wales

Russia manager Leonid Slutsky could make a number of changes for the game against Wales

Russia will not be happy to have only accumulated 1 point from the two games that they have played so far in Group B. They have not managed to get going, rescuing a late point against England and a disappointing collapse against Slovakia has been the campaign so far. The journey isn’t necessarily over yet though. There is still hope for my sweepstakers. If they manage to pull off a win against Wales and England do them a favour by overcoming Slovakia they could still nick the 2nd spot. There is also the chance that they could qualify for the next round in third place. Leonid Slutsky could make wholesale changes in an attempt to react to Russia’s disappointing start.

How I will watch it

Unfortunately I am abandoning my team again! Last time it was work and this time it is for the very justifiable excuse of England playing at the same time. With both games in Group B kicking off at 8pm, I’ll be sat in a local pub, pint at the ready, hopefully ready to see England top the group. Hopefully. Tomorrow at least, I will go through my morning ritual of watching the Euro 2016 round up on iPlayer during my uneventful hour long commute to work. I will also be keeping an eye on livescore tonight, to give myself an idea of how the group is going to come to an end.

Prediction: Russia 1 – 2 Wales

I think Russia might respond a bit tonight, I expect them to start quickly and throw themselves forward, maybe getting themselves an early goal. Slutsky could roll the changes and with that could come a bit of a response. Of course though Wales will equalise through a relatively well struck free kick, the keeper will move a foot or so in the wrong direction and the ball will go straight in to the middle of the goal.

Free kick

“Of course though Wales will equalise through a relatively well struck free kick, the keeper will move a foot or so in the wrong direction and the ball will go straight in to the middle of the goal”

With Wales also needing to do the job tonight to cement a place in the last 16 and with the fire in the belly left over from their last minute defeat against England, I think they will do just enough to win it.

Final group standings:

  1. England
  2. Wales
  3. Slovakia
  4. Russia

Two home nations on top, who’d have thought it?

Wales (Dan Eales)

How I will watch it

With both Group B games kicking off at 8pm and the dramatic end to the England vs Wales game last Thursday, you can put your house on finding me down my local for what should be another exciting installment of home nation football. Anyone within a sniff of qualification will be determined to win their final group game and advance onto the last 16, which for most of us, is where the real fun begins.

Last time out

From the moment the groups were drawn, the England game against Wales had everyone purring with anticipation, and boy did it deliver. In the build up to the game Bale began to stoke the fire with cheap digs, all of which only added to the intensity and probably gave Roy’s boys that extra fire in their bellies. From the get go the game was played at a pace that only increased as the game wore on, the tension only intensifying with every 50-50 challenge and narrow miss.

Gareth Bale celebrates his second goal of the tournament

Gareth Bale celebrates his second goal of the tournament

In the first half England created their fair share of chances, but failed to capitalise. Sterling’s glaring miss early on was shameful, while headers from Cahill, Kane and Smalling also failed to find the net. Three minutes before half time Wales were awarded a free kick in Bale territory. With the Welsh faithful watching on with expectant anticipation, the ball squirmed it’s way into the net with a helping hand from the erroneous Hart. Bale’s goal forced Hodgson to act, with Kane and Sterling making way for Vardy and Sturridge at the break. With both subs hoping to stake claim for a starting position and the rest of the England team now with a heightened sense of urgency, the game became frantic.

Sturridge wheels away in celebration as he grabs a late winner for England

Sturridge wheels away in celebration as he grabs a late winner for England

England camped in the Welsh half, squeezing Wales back, the box became a pressure cooker and it wasn’t long until it blew. Vardy popped up to pock the ball past Hennessey, the Leicester man appeared offside but replays showed the ball had come off the head of Williams. English lions had tasted Welsh blood, and began to go for the kill. Wales clung on into the dying embers of stoppage time, but to no avail. Neat interplay from Vardy, Alli and Sturbridge led the latter to find the bottom corner of Hennessey’s goal and sink tired Welsh hearts.

Prediction: Russia 0 – 1 Wales

England will most likely top the group, but I still fancy Wales to take second. Having nicked a lucky draw against the English and having been put to the sword by Slovakia, its obvious Russia’s injury woes have really hit them hard. Wales will plan on coming away with all three points, especially knowing that if Slovakia beat England, they could be staring down the barrel of the third placed draw. Despite Russia’s lacklustre performances they will also be hoping a win could sneak them into the last 16, so this could be a tight affair.

Final group standings:

  1. England
  2. Wales
  3. Slovakia
  4. Russia