Wales v Slovakia - Saturday June 11
Bordeaux, Live on BBC, 5pm
Having come through a tough group featuring Belgium and Bosnia & Herzegovina, the Welsh ended the campaign in second place and Chris Coleman’s men were heading to France. Though heavily reliant on the firepower and finesse of Gareth Bale, the Welsh campaign was built on a strong defensive foundations, with the backline only being breached an impressive 4 times in 10 matches.
In the group stages, they won 6 games, drew 3 and lost 1, scoring 11 goals, conceding 4 and ending up with a +7 goal difference.
Having come through a tough group featuring winners Spain and the Ukraine, the Slovakians ended the campaign in second place and Ján Kozák’s men were heading to France. In qualification, Napoli hitman Marek Hamšík ended as the joint top scorer in the group with 5 goals. Slovakia found themselves in pole position in Group C after 2 games when they had defeated Ukraine 1-0 away from home and followed it up with a memorable 2-1 victory over Spain in the second group match.
In the group stages, they won 7 games, drew 1 and lost 2, scoring 17 goals, conceding 8 and ending up with a +9 goal difference.
In qualification for Euro 2016, Wales proved themselves to be extremely tough to break down, and a strong defensive performance is key to them escaping Group B. What they will have to improve on is how clinical they are in front of goal – during qualification they were the most wasteful finishers of any of the 24 nations who made it to France, requiring 10.7 shots taken per goal scored. They also had the worst shot conversion in the second half of matches of any side at the finals (8.6%).
Slovakia on the other hand were the joint-second most clinical attack of any qualifier: 5.4 shots taken per goal scored and they scored highest percentage of first half goals of any qualifier with 70.6% (12/17). One element of the game that might be crucial to the result is Wales’ aerial threat. Slovakia conceded more corners per match than any other qualifier (6.2 per game). Wales took the highest percentage of headed shots of any qualifier with 25.4% (only side to take more than a quarter of all shots from headers).
We expect to see a few goals in this one, and if the delivery from set pieces and corners is good, Wales have a good chance of nicking a goal or two.
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