If you’re going to make slanderous claims about patriotism and passion, you had better be prepared to hide your topknot between your knees as it all blows up in your face. For all the pre-match jibes – ‘not a single England player would get in this Wales team’, ‘Wales are just more passionate than England’ – England blew Wales away in Lens. Talisman Wayne Rooney sat Gareth Bale down and gave him a footballing lesson.
Chris Coleman set up his side to emulate the ‘Atletico Madrid approach’, condensing the space around the penalty area. With five burly men at the back, Wales were always going to pose England a dilemma with such a stacked defensive line.
Rooney PASSION pic.twitter.com/Eo0064nKex
— SemperFiUnited (@SemperFiUnited) June 16, 2016
Bale’s first half free-kick heaped the pressure on England, who entered the break at a deficit after a glaring error from Manchester City goalkeeper, Joe Hart.
But England, led by captain Wayne Rooney, emerged from the tunnel for the second period re-energised, keen to answer their critics and prove their superior quality over their Welsh opponents.
Kane and Sturridge entered the fray and offered a range of refreshing attacking options, but it was Wayne Rooney who take the game by the scruff of the neck:
Wayne Rooney’s game by numbers:
91% pass accuracy
5 chances created
Ran the show. pic.twitter.com/KBu6JqxRKy
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 16, 2016
Wayne Rooney was simply phenomenal during England’s second-half. He completely bossed the game, Bale and Ramsey just couldn’t get anywhere near him.
Wales set their stall out to shut down England’s ability to play around their box, but Wayne Rooney stepped up to that challenge and smashed it.
Sturridge scores one and is involved in the other. World class player and some were questioning him going.https://t.co/cvdIXsIDMW
— MB (@MrBoywunder) 16 June 2016
“It was a great feeling to win the game like we did, it will almost qualify us now and we have to win the game on Monday.
“It was a great win, but a fully deserved one.”
After the crushing disappointment of recent tournaments and the infamous Algeria moment, England’s spirited performance lead by Wayne Rooney epitomised the squads newfound passion. Sit down and take note Gareth.