Slovakia v England: Three Lions to progress with 2-1 win

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Bold half-time substitutions and late drama against Wales ensured England of a top-three spot in Group B, meaning the pressure is off for the final game against Slovakia. That doesn’t mean there is nothing at stake though.

A win would guarantee top spot in the group for the Three Lions and a round-of-16 clash against a third-placed finisher.

With that in mind, Roy Hodgson is likely to be persuaded to keep the bulk of the 11 that ended strongly against the Dragons in the starting lineup, with Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge rewarded for the impact they made off the bench.

Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane, the two that made way at the break, will again make way as Hodgson persists with his 4-3-3 formation that pushes Wayne Rooney back into midfield.

Ahead of the stake-raising matches in the knockout phase, this would be a good opportunity to strike a winning formula for Hodgson, who perhaps hasn’t quite figured out who and how to best utilise a combination of his five strikers.

For a twenty-minute period after half-time against the Welsh, however, England played the kind of football that will cause problems later in the tournament and, if Slovakia stand off and play deep, will be needed once again.

Unsurprisingly, Ladbrokes make England heavy favourites at 4/5, with Slovakia a 5/1 shot and the draw available at 12/5.

England have a 100 per cent record in their three meetings with the Slovakians previously and it’s difficult to see them doing anything other than maintaining that here.

However, for a better chance at a betting windfall, backing the 15/2 that they win 2-1 could be the way to go.

Two of the three wins the Three Lions have secured over Slovakia have come by that scoreline, while three of the last four wins Hodgson has overseen also obliged.

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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.