Euro 2016: Can Wales recover from England loss to reach last 16?

Media playback is not supported on this device

Highlights: England 2-1 Wales

Having renewed their old rivalry with such vigour, it is a strange and cruel twist of fate which means Wales might have to rely on England to do them a favour in order to reach the last 16 of the European Championship.

After the two sides goaded each other in a spiky preamble to Thursday's derby, Wales looked like they would back up their mischief with a memorable result, only to be denied by Daniel Sturridge's injury-time winner.

At the final whistle, Wales' players were drained, their 90 minutes of toil in vain.

Yet despite the late heartbreak, Chris Coleman's side still have their destiny in their own hands.

Victory against Russia on Monday would guarantee their passage to the last 16, while a draw is likely to be enough. Lose and they could still get through - but with their aspirations dependent on England beating Slovakia.

Can Wales lift themselves?

At their first major tournament since 1958 and hoping to end a 32-year winless streak against England, Wales had history on their minds in Lens.

Coleman said beforehand his team would approach this game like any other, unaffected by the hyperbole surrounding such an eagerly anticipated fixture.

But that calm veneer should not obscure what was a fierce determination to win. Victory would have taken Wales through to the second round and, had it come at England's success, their success would have been all the sweeter.

As it was, Sturridge's late winner delivered defeat in the most morale-sapping manner.


"I can't say I've felt as disappointed too many times in my career as I did when that goal went in to be honest with you," Coleman said.

"We are gutted after today, absolutely devastated. That is how it is but we have to show a bit of mettle and steel and bounce back for this next game.

"We are down to the last one and we have a chance. Although I am disappointed today in the result and how we lost it, given the fact we are going into the last game and it is in our hands then we have to take that."

Will Coleman stick or twist?

As well as aiming to rejuvenate his players' spirits, Coleman might reflect on his tactical approach before Monday's crucial encounter with Russia.

Wales' strategy in Lens appeared to be to sit back and allow England to keep possession, hoping to utilise the pace of Gareth Bale on the break.

It worked during qualifying and, for large parts at Stade Bollaert-Delelis, it seemed England would be frustrated by Wales' trusted approach.

However, Wales gradually dropped too deep, their legs grew weary and, eventually, their resistance was broken.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Wales 'gutted' after defeat to England

Bale and Hal Robson-Kanu were isolated in attack and their service was scarce, leaving Coleman disappointed by his side's inability to keep the ball.

"We are better in possession and we didn't play like we can. The occasion got to us a little bit," he said.

"We were a bit rushed and rather than keeping the ball more we gave it back to England too many times. That is the only criticism I can make of my team."

Coleman's favoured 5-3-2 system has served Wales well, helping them concede only four goals in 10 games as they qualified for the finals.

The decision the former Fulham manager now faces is whether to persevere with that formation or to make some attacking alterations to face Russia, potentially introducing the creativity of Jonny Williams or pace and dynamism of winger George Williams.

Russia - we meet again

Welsh football has been shaped by its failures and near misses, and Monday's match against Russia presents an opportunity to consign the most recent tale of heartache to history.

It was the same opponents who beat Wales in the Euro 2004 play-offs, with Welsh ill-feeling exacerbated by the fact Russia's Egor Titov failed a drugs test after the goalless first leg in Moscow, before playing for just under an hour in their 1-0 triumph at the Millennium Stadium.

Wales failed in their attempt to have Russia thrown out of Euro 2004 and, 12 years on, they could bury that misery by overcoming their old tormentors in Toulouse.

"It is all on this last game," said Coleman.

"Russia have got experience, they will be hurting after the defeat against Slovakia and I think whichever team is able to put the disappointments behind them from this middle game will be the ones to prevail.

"We are still going into this last game and it is down to us. We are not asking for any favours - we have never done that - it is up to us to take care of business."

Top Stories