Two substitutes- Vardy and Sturridge – secured a crucial victory for England against Wales in desperate derby at Euro 2016.
A scrappy goal by Sturridge proved priceless as England came back from a goal down to win the derby.
It was Bale who came to the party in the first half, scoring a goal of breathtaking genius but substitute Jamie Vardy drew level for England before Sturridge poked in from close range in injury time.
There were points, pride and qualification at stake in the Anglo-Welsh derby, but in the end, England will win everything, even if they were disappointing on the day.
Roy Hodgson read well; took off Sterling and Kane and brought on Sturridge and Vardy and that proved to be the game changer
England needed a win, after a stuttering draw in the opening Group B game against Russia but it was Sterling who failed to live to his name in the opening exchanges.
The Manchester City small man was played through early on but with Wayne Hennessey at his mercy, his sliding touch went wide.
Five minutes later Hennessey was quick to react to Cahil’s glancing header from close range.
It was a tedious game that showed little skill with many faulty passes, few goal scoring chances like the one Smalling had in the 35th minute.
The lanky Manchester United defender soared to connect a teasing cross but the header went agonizingly wide.
Then in the 41st minute something spectacular happened. The man who knows how to prepare for the big moment put the Welsh ahead with a cracker of a free-kick from 40 yards.
Gareth Bale fired a thunderbolt which arched over the England wall with Joe Hart parrying the ball into his own net in a tardy attempt to save the situation.
That goal should have set the game alight but it didn’t. England did not react with the sense of urgency from a team that needed victory and Wales were either happy with the lead or lacked quality to bury the game.
Hodgson who was daring enough to put Valdy on the bench for the second time had to play the fans’ choice of a striker at least for the final 45 minutes and the Leicester man did not disappoint.
In the 56th minute Vardy was completely offside but was played onside by a careless defensive header and the Leicester man made no mistake. He struck low and hard beating Hennessey for a crucial equalizer for the English.
Daniel Sturridge who struggled for the better part of the second half, did the most important thing by scoring late to put England ahead in Group B with 4 points.