England vs. Wales - Euro 2012 Match Preview

Wales did England a massive favour over the weekend and have all but guaranteed their automatic qualification for Euro 2012 but Fabio Capello won't want his side to go easy on their neighbours tonight at Wembley.

Wales did England a massive favour over the weekend and have all but guaranteed their automatic qualification for Euro 2012 - allowing England to book World champions Spain for a friendly in November when they could have had to negotiate a play off. However the sort of performance Wales put in on Saturday occurs once every couple of years and it is certainly too much to ask that they repeat it again a couple of days later, especially without Craig Bellamy. The only injury England suffered from their trip to Bulgaria was a tweak to Theo Walcott's hamstring, so Aaron Lennon or Adam Johnson should come in. Fabio Capello may respond to suggestions that Frank Lampard's England career is over by restoring him to the team although he hardly seems the compassionate sort, so I would expect that England line up more or less as they did in Sofia. This game is one of the majority of international fixtures that is a foregone conclusion, however there are a few interesting points to consider. One is that England haven't put on a show at Wembley for a year now. Since hammering Bulgaria 4-0 they have lost to France and drawn with Ghana, Montenegro and Switzerland. A potential result of this is that there are ten thousand unsold tickets for tonight's match. England still have some PR damage to repair before they travel to Poland & Ukraine in June, so the more convincing home wins, the better! With that in mind, I think it is an odd choice to play Spain. While it is definitely important to test yourself against the top teams prior to a tournament, would a beating from Spain be the best way to achieve that? Why not a rescheduled game against Holland or a World Cup re-match against Germany? The need to pack out Wembley seems to have gotten in the way of ideal preparation for next years tournament. Anyway.... The second will be Aaron Ramsey's performance. In the previous fixture, he had not long returned to first team football following his broken leg and he was outshone by a midfield consisting of his Arsenal colleague Jack Wilshire, Frank Lampard and Scott Parker. Wilshire's injury has given Ramsey a golden opportunity at Arsenal and this match could show how far he has come on, especially now that he is away from the doom and gloom at Arsenal for a fortnight. Third will be Gary Speed's management skills. The tactics before the previous game in Cardiff seemed to revolve around how intimidating the Millennium stadium atmosphere can be. Whilst it is indeed a very loud stadium, it is an odd tactic to take against a team packed full of players who have played in that very stadium in FA and Carling cup finals. Speed has also admitted that they defended too deep in that match, so it will be interesting how he has learnt from it and what tactics he will try and use to nullify England. While I think that Wales will improve on their last performance against England, I still don't think they will have enough to get anything from this game. England are flying and I can only see a convincing home win. The latest odds on England vs. Wales are provided in association with Euro 2012 Betting: England - 1/7 Draw - 13/2 Wales - 20/1


Tom Byrne hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.