6 Stats Zone screens that show why England needed sharpshooter Sturridge to save them

The Liverpool striker had a hand in both goals as an improved second-half performance saw Wales' resistance eventually broken, writes Greg Lea...

England left it late but ultimately did just about enough to pick up all three points against Wales on Thursday, as Daniel Sturridge's dramatic stoppage-time winner sent Roy Hodgson's men to the top of the Group B standings.

Gareth Bale had given the Welsh the lead in the first half, his well-struck free-kick inadvertently helped into the far corner by Joe Hart. Wales sunk even deeper once they had something to hold on to, with England frustrated as they searched for a second following Jamie Vardy's equaliser in the 56th minute.

England dominated possession throughout and were finally rewarded late on when Sturridge pounced. Wales, who struggled to get up the pitch for much of the second period, couldn't quite hold out, but they remain in an excellent position to qualify for the last 16.

1) Possession without penetration

England saw a lot of the ball in the first half but failed to do much with it. There was not much penetration to their possession, with Wales looking reasonably comfortable as they allowed their opponents to play passes across the midfield.

There was not enough movement off the ball either, and Harry Kane struggled to get into the game. Aside from a Raheem Sterling opportunity early on, England didn't fashion many chances from open play.

2) Wales go long

Wales, meanwhile, preferred to get the ball forward quickly, with Gareth Bale's pace making them dangerous on the break.

Hal Robson-Kanu, a willing runner ahead of the Real Madrid man, successfully put Chris Smalling and Gary Cahill under pressure, with Chris Coleman's side aware that their best route to goal was by bypassing the midfield and looking long to Bale.

3) Sterling ineffective again

Raheem Sterling would have been desperate to impress after a disappointing display against Russia, but the Manchester City winger again failed to make an impact.

Wales' 3-5-2 system meant England would, in theory, have space to attack down the flanks, with Sterling's provision of pace and width highlighted as potentially pivotal before the game.

The 21-year-old was a little timid, however, unsuccessful with his two take-ons and too safe with his passes. It was no surprise to see him taken off at the break, after he'd squandered a glorious chance early on.

4) England more positive after half-time

England were better after the break, sharper and more direct with their passing and threatening the Wales' box on a much more regular basis.

There were still instances of moves frustratingly breaking down in the final third, but England were no longer so passive in possession and were more willing to test Wayne Hennessey in the Wales goal.

5) Wales struggle to get out

England's relentless attacking pinned Wales back in the second half, and they really struggled to push up the pitch and hold the ball for any length of time.

Most of their passes were long towards Bale, but England did an effective job of keeping him under wraps, as well as pinching the ball back higher up the field to prevent Wales from relieving some pressure.

6) Vardy and Sturridge make difference

It was certainly a gamble for Hodgson to introduce both Vardy and Sturridge at the break, but the move ultimately worked as both strikers got on the scoresheet with clinical finishes from inside the box.

Wales were concerned that pushing too high up the pitch would leave them exposed to the duo's pace, while Vardy and Sturridge's movement kept their markers on their toes.

Throwing on multiple strikers (Marcus Rashford also entered the fray later) is a strategy that might not work going forward in the tournament, but Hodgson's boldness paid off in the end. The England boss has Sturridge's composure to thank for a crucial victory that his side may otherwise not have got.

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