Jun 16, 2016

    England must tame rowdy fans and Bale


    ENGLAND face the twin threats of a disqualification warning if their fans misbehave and a super-motivated Gareth Bale ahead of their Euro 2016 showdown with neighbours Wales in Lens today.

    The bloody clashes between rival fans that marred England's opening 1-1 draw with Russia in Marseille at the weekend left Roy Hodgson's side facing the threat of elimination from European governing body Uefa.

    England midfielder Adam Lallana said such an outcome would be "devastating" and Hodgson and team captain Wayne Rooney have released a video message pleading for calm.

    The Football Association and Football Association of Wales have both urged fans without tickets not to attend.

    But despite Lens's Stade Bollaert-Delelis holding only 35,000 fans, 40,000 to 50,000 supporters are expected to descend on the city.

    Of equal concern to Hodgson will be the danger posed by Real Madrid forward Bale, whose stunning 25-yard free-kick against Slovakia in Bordeaux set Wales on their way to a 2-1 win.

    With England having dropped points against Russia, a second Group B defeat would seriously compromise their chances of remaining in the competition, as well as propelling Wales into the last 16.

    Lallana, a former Southampton team-mate of Bale's, said England must avoid giving away "silly fouls" around the box. But he believes it would be foolish to focus all their attention on the Welsh No. 11.

    "You don't want to leave your team too vulnerable on the counter-attack with players like Gareth Bale playing, the strengths and the quality that he has. But it's not a one-man show," noted the Liverpool midfielder.

    "They've got plenty of other good players."


    Tonight's fixtures


    England v Wales



    Ukraine v N Ireland


    Germany v Poland