Key substitutes Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge took a very dismal first half display from England and provided two key goals that brought England from last to first in the Group in the 2nd half of Thursday’s match against Wales.
In what looked like another too familiar disappointing display from England, Hodgson’s uncharacteristically offensive substitutes helped turn around their fortunes. England had no success breaking down the Welsh back line and overall counter attack approach to the game. Sterling looked in particular looked completely lost with no effort from the young Manchester City fielder to stay out wide and instead causing congestion as he continually kept coming into areas occupied by Dele Alli and Rooney and providing a harder time to open space instead of providing it.
Kyle Walker was the lone bright spot in the first half and overall probably their best and most dangerous player creating good outside service that saw chances fall to Cahill and Smalling. Thankfully for English fans, Hodgson went for the points and had no problem subbing off Kane who looked particularly static and Sterling in favor of Vardy and Sturridge. Vardy found himself in the right area after a loose ball fell to him and he put it away putting England level with Wales after a first half wonder goal as Gareth Bale put Wales up after a 40 yard free kick goal.
England looked a much more direct and free flowing team in the 2nd half and with the added space found Alli, Vardy and Sturridge creating in the Welsh area as Sturridge put England up 2-1 in the 92nd minute in what would eventually be the match winner.
Perhaps England will play to their strengths of a more direct approach from the wings and pace to get balls in the area going forward, instead of the static play that seems to go nowhere as seen all too often from England.
England now sit in 1st place with 4 points and will face Slovakia in their final match with implications of 2nd on the line for both teams as well as Wales trying to regain their form from the first match as they face Russia in their final group stage match.
-Disgruntled Sports Fan