England 2 - 1 Wales: Daniel Sturridge breaks Welsh hearts

England's substitute Jamie Vardy celebrates after scoring the equaliser. Picture: AFP
England's substitute Jamie Vardy celebrates after scoring the equaliser. Picture: AFP
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A double substitution at half-time paid dividends for England boss Roy Hodgson as his side overturned a half-time deficit to defeat Wales thanks to a 92nd minute goal from Daniel Sturridge.

Fellow substitute Jamie Vardy had equalised for the pre-match favourites 12 minutes into the second half. England continued to push forward right to the end and got their reward. The underdogs had led at half-time thanks to a long range free-kick from Gareth Bale.

Bale gave Wales the lead. Picture: Getty

Bale gave Wales the lead. Picture: Getty

The game was less than 10 seconds old when Wales captain Ashley Williams slipped at the back, briefly threatening to allow Harry Kane a free run on goal.

The ball reared awkwardly for the Tottenham striker, though, and Williams was back on his feet before things escalated.

England came again in the seventh minute, Adam Lallana’s low cross found Raheem Sterling, though he could not keep his first-time effort down.

Gareth Bale’s first meaningful touch brought jitters as he burrowed into the box and shot towards the near post but Gary Cahill lunged to divert the ball for a corner.

England thought they had a claim for a penalty when the ball struck the arm of Ben Davies following a set-piece, but the match official waved away the appeals.

Chris Smalling went close soon after with a header that inched past the far post following a Wayne Rooney corner.

The England captain had been switched on to corner duties following the debate surrounding Kane’s stint taking them in the draw against Russia.

However, it was at the other end of the park where he made the wrong sort of impact on set-pieces, giving away the foul from which Bale put Wales 1-0 up.

Joe Hart was also at fault, failing to move his feet quickly enough to get across to Bale’s 35-yard effort and could only help the ball on its way into the back of the net.

Hodgson introduced Vardy and Sturridge at the half and England took to the second period with renewed intensity. Rooney went close with a curled shot that Wayne Hennessey had to push away, before Vardy tied it up. Wales appealed for offside but the replays showed Vardy to be onside as it was the head of Williams, and not an England attacker, that diverted the ball into Vardy’s path.

From that point forward England put their opponents under considerable pressure but couldn’t find a route to goal, with Rooney and Sturridge having shots from inside the area blocked, before Gary Cahill saw a late header drift over.

It seemed to be heading for a draw before Sturridge picked up the ball outside the area, played a one-two with Dele Alli and squeezed the ball past Hennessey at his front post.

England just require a draw from their final game to qualify from the group stages. A draw would likely be good enough for Wales, as four points would give them a total that should see them through as one of the four strongest third place teams.

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