Euro 2016 Group B

England

11 June - Russia (8pm CET, Stade Velodrome, Marseille)
16 June - Wales (2pm CET, Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens)
20 June - Slovakia (8pm CET, Stade Geoffroy Guichard, Saint-Étienne)

England have the courage to test new players, writes Andrea Tallarita, but that doesn't make their strategy any less of a gamble.

Lions across the channel

England have a young and energetic team, though much will depend on the performance of untested stars like Harry Kane. They are strong down the wings, but their defence wouldn't make Europe's top five. Their tactical approach has been too rigid in the past, and one hopes this has been fixed: if a smart opponent can target their weaknesses, will they know how to fight back?

Coach: Roy Hodgson — Hodgson has a strong track record with young players, but he's slow to adapt his tactics when things don't go his way.

Preferred XI: Hart; Clyne, Cahill, Smalling, Gibbs; Milner, Barkley; Lallana, Alli, Sterling; Kane.

Dele Alli and Raheem Sterling are both very young and may not be fielded together. Watch out for Wayne Rooney, a supersub or a potential starter.

Look out for: Adam Lallana won't be the most talked about player in the England squad, but his performance and his experience will be key if England's midfield is to work properly.

Did you know?

  • England are the only team to have won ten games out of ten in the qualifying campaign and to have qualified with three games to spare.
  • England also have the best goal for/against ratio of any team that qualified to Euro 2016, netting 10.3 goals for every one conceded.
  • With seven goals to his name, Wayne Rooney is the only striker to make the top 10 of the Euro 2016 qualifying goalscorers who will probably not start for his team.

England versus…

…Russia P 13 W 6 D 3 L 4 F 23 A 16 (includes stats against former USSR)
…Wales P 101 W 66 D 21 L 14 F 273 A 117
…Slovakia P 3 W3  D 0 L 0 F 8 A 2

Stats

Population: 54.3m
Nickname: The Three Lions
Calcio fans might remember… Paul Gascoigne - Lazio (1992-95)
Top Division: Premier League
FIFA World Ranking: 10
International honours: World Cup (1966)
Most capped player: Peter Shilton (125)
Leading international scorer: Wayne Rooney (51)

England at the European Championships:

1960 – Did not enter
1964 – Did not qualify
1968 – Third place
1972 – Did not qualify
1976 – Did not qualify
1980 – Group stage
1984 – Did not qualify
1988 – Group stage
1992 – Group stage
1996 – Semi-finals
2000 – Group stage
2004 – Quarter-finals
2008 – Did not qualify
2012 – Quarter-finals

How they got to Euro 2016: With 10 wins out of 10, England blazed their way into the tournament in style, topping Group E ahead of Switzerland and Slovenia.