Written by David Robinson
England head into their final group game sitting top of the group and with a place in the last 16 firmly in their grasp. They take on a Slovakia side who have 3 points to their name having beaten Russia in their last match which notably saw star player Marek Hamsik announce his arrival in France with a wonderful strike. I focus on what the game could mean for Roy Hodgson’s men.
Winning the group
England have certainly not finished the job even though the Three Lions look odds on to qualify even if that could be through a third place finish. Getting through should be the ultimate aim for the nation but England should without doubt look to finish top of the group with a win vs Slovakia. A third place team from another group would be waiting for England should they top the group which would on paper improve their chances of reaching the Quarter-Finals. With this in mind England would be foolish to take their foot of the gas especially after a morale boosting win against Wales.
Slovakia know that a win will make them qualify so expect a determined performance. They showed their qualities against Russia with their 2-1 win a lot more comfortable than the scoreline suggests. They do have quality, Hamsik showed that last time round and although they aren’t the best nation at the tournament, they could provide a tough test should Hodgson’s men become lethargic. However if they can show the same level of performances as the last two games you would expect it to be enough to get the 3 points.
Having had two games to showcase their talents, some players have really stepped up where as a few have under performed. It would be a travesty if Kane and even more so if Sterling start following the impact of the likes of Sturridge against Wales. This is where it will be interesting to see Roy’s team selection with a formation change likely to suit the Three Lions more with no wingers bar the out of form Sterling in the squad.
No win for England tomorrow could still easily see the nation through the Group Stages but that means with just 1 win from 3 going into what should be harder opposition will make things tougher for the team and put pressure on Hodgson to deliver. Having a settled side and a winning mentality about the place would see the country fancy their chances against anyone in the competition. While I do believe a win is important tomorrow, qualification into the knockout stages is all that matters with each game being a one off form can sometimes go out the window.
What are your predictions for the game tomorrow? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by Nazionale Calcio