Daniel Sturridge scored an injury-time winner as England came from behind to claim a vital 2-1 victory over Wales at Euro 2016. Combining with Dele Alli, Sturridge poked the ball past Wayne Hennessey in the Wales goal to give England a scarcely deserved win that could be priceless for its hopes of progressing in the tournament and Roy Hodgson’s ambitions of keeping his job.

It was Sturridge’s appearance at the start of the second half, along with Jamie Vardy, that grabbed an equalizer before the hour mark. This improved an England performance that could, in truth, not have been much worse after a first-half to forget. In a game that was more in keeping with a battle at the wrong end of the Premier League than Europe’s biggest stage, Wales took the lead for a second successive match through a Gareth Bale free kick.

Like Wales’ 2-1 win over Slovakia, though, Bale was helped by some less-than-exemplary goalkeeping. This time, Joe Hart got a strong left hand to the dipping shot from fully 35 yards but only succeeded in pushing it into the corner of the net.

England was showing little indication before or after Bale’s 42nd-minute strike that they would be able to break down a Wales team that was happy to sit back with three points already in the bag. England, after conceding an injury-time equalizer against Russia to take just a single point from its opener, was the team under pressure to get the win against a neighbor it has long cast in its shadow.

Hodgson stuck with the same starting lineup that had shown promise against Russia but was punished for a lack of ruthlessness in the final third. It was not a decision that paid dividends, and it was no surprise that Raheem Sterling, who followed his poor performance against Russia by missing a golden chance to open the scoring early on against Wales, was withdrawn at the interval.

More of a surprise was that the Premier League’s top scorer last season, Harry Kane, was also taken off. Hodgson opted to go with a new front pairing of Vardy and Sturridge, with a midfield diamond behind them. And he must at least get some credit for those alterations, given the final scoreline and who scored the goals.

Just 11 minutes into the second half, Sturridge made an impact. It was the Liverpool forward’s cross into the box and, when Wales captain Ashley Williams inadvertently headed the ball back toward his own goal, Vardy was free to drill the ball home from close range even though he was behind the last defender.

England played with much more purpose at the start of the second period after an insipid first 45 minutes. And Sturridge could have put England ahead just past the hour mark, only to mishit his volley. But that early wave of pressure soon dissipated, and Wales, while showing precious little ambition, appeared set to comfortably hold on for a point that would have left it needing only a draw from its final match against Russia.

Instead, hampered by the loss of Joe Ledley to injury, Wales conceded at the death as England reversed its fortunes from Saturday’s opener. Sturridge surged in from the left and, following a clever flick from Alli, skillfully evaded the last defender to get a decisive shot away.

England now need just a point against Slovakia to be sure of progressing. But, while the victory has given Hodgson some much-needed breathing room, he still has much to ponder about his side’s performance.



// by soccerhub365