England remain in Group B pole despite Russia draw

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It was almost the perfect start to the Euro 2016 campaign for Roy Hodgson’s England in Marseille, until a heart-breaking equaliser earned Russia a point in Group B.

The Three Lions had enjoyed the better of the clash with Leonid Slutsky’s team, but were unable to take any of the considerable number of chances they created before finally going in front.

Eric Dier’s 73rd-minute free kick gave England the lead and, with Russia posing little threat throughout the encounter, a 1-0 win looked to be heading their way.

But, with time seeping away on the clock, Vasili Berzutski popped up at the back post to nod home from close range, snatching a point from the jaws of defeat and crushing England’s spirit in the process.

Despite admitting to feeling “bitterly disappointed” at the final result, Hodgson remained adamant that there were a number of positives to take out of the game.

Ladbrokes seemingly concur with that thinking and still give England an odds-on chance of winning their group in France.

Their price to progress to the knockout stages remains wafer thin at 1/10, while odds of 10/11 that the Three Lions come out on top of Group B are also unaffected by the Russian result.

Along with those untouched prices, the bookmaker has also gone 12/1 that Dier repeats his dead-ball mastery in England’s next match against Wales.

The Tottenham anchor man’s performance was among the more pleasing aspects of the night for England and his goal, albeit coming as something of a surprise given his lack of free-kick nous at club level, crowned a superb showing.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.