Euro 2016: Aaron Ramsey believes Wales are better than England

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Wales Sport in Dinard, France
Euro 2016: Gareth Bale confident Wales know England weakness
Euro 2016: England v Wales
Venue: Stade Felix Bollaert-Delelis, Lens Date: Thursday, 16 June Kick-off: 14:00 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Wales, the BBC Sport website and app.

Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey believes his team are better than England, who they meet in their second Euro 2016 match on Thursday.

England's Jack Wilshere, who plays alongside Ramsey for Arsenal, said: "If you put both teams down on paper, we would win the game."

Wales are hopeful they can beat their rivals for the first time since 1984.

Ramsey said: "I believe we have the best team. We've been through a lot. We're seeing the rewards."

The 25-year-old said Wales had shown - in both qualifying for the finals and their opening 2-1 win over Slovakia - how much they had grown as a team.

He added: "We've been together through thick and thin. We fight for each other, we work our socks off for each other."

Rewind: Wales beat England 1-0 at Wembley in 1977

Wales top Group B after their victory over Slovakia, while England are second having drawn 1-1 with Russia.

And forward Gareth Bale reiterated his belief that his side have more passion than their opponents.

The Real Madrid player said: "We know we're a good team and know we can beat them on our day.

"I'm not saying England don't have pride or passion, I'm sure they do. I just feel that we have more. I'm sure they have their opinion that they have more also.

"I just feel, whether it's football, rugby or whatever sport it is, in Wales we seem to have that next level."

Asked how many England players would get into the Wales line-up, a grinning Bale said: "None."

The 26-year-old scored Wales' opening goal in the win over Slovakia, which gives Chris Coleman's side a good chance of qualifying for the next phase.

Aaron Ramsey
Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey scored nine of Wales' 11 goals in qualifying for Euro 2016

Closing the gap

Bale and Ramsey both played when the teams last met in 2011, England winning the Euro 2012 qualifier 1-0 at Wembley.

Wales have since ended a 58-year absence from major tournaments and, briefly, moved above England in the world rankings for the first time.

"We know they're a bigger nation with more players to choose from but we've closed the gap massively," said Bale.

"We know they're a good team and, I'm sure if they put in a good performance, they'll feel they can beat us and we're exactly the same. If we work well as a team, we feel we can win."

Rewind: Mark Hughes' winner sees Wales beat England in 1984

Bale shrugs off safety concerns

The build-up to Thursday's match has been dominated by safety concerns, with Russia warned they will be disqualified from Euro 2016 if there is further crowd trouble after violence marred their game against England in Marseille.

Wales fans without tickets for the England game have been urged not to travel to Lens or nearby Lille, while manager Chris Coleman has urged supporters to avoid "aggression" off the field.

"I have family coming so I'm hoping it's going to be a safe place for them to go," said Bale. "I'm fully expecting things to go as normal.

"Our fans behaved amazingly in the last game. They always do. They're a very proud, passionate crowd and we're a very proud, passionate nation.

"If you don't have a ticket, don't go to the game, stay out of trouble and enjoy the occasion. It's a historic moment for our country and one that should everybody should enjoy and not look back on with any regrets."

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