The Slovakians soaked up intense pressure against a reshuffled England side whose manager Roy Hodgson made six changes to the starting line-up.
Hodgson congratulated Wales on winning the group – albeit grudgingly.
“But we are also frustrated, we had so much possession in the second half and I have not been involved in such a one-sided game as that for a long, long time”.
“I saw Iceland when they played Holland in the qualifiers”, said Rooney.
“I think for us we are happy that England are through and Wales, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are our competitors so I’m not bothered if they are through or not to be honest”, he said. “It would be nice if we could start with that on Monday”. The soon-to-be-gone Football Association chairman Greg Dyke has never shown much sensitivity to timing, and his back-of-the-fag-packet criteria for Euro 2016 success on Sunday morning did Hodgson no favours. He’s the manager, it’s his decision, not my decision, and I have to respect that.
“Even after this tournament is over, this group are on the way to something else”.
I would love Dzeko to come to Wearside as this is the calibare of player we should be aiming at for me.
“The way we’re playing we shouldn’t fear anyone. But I am hoping he will get more”.
Portugal are the most formidable potential opponent, with Iceland, Hungary and Austria also in the running for second spot in the group.
Wales came into the competition bursting with confidence. “To have 115 caps for England is something really special”. Ramsey ran across the edge of the area to draw the Russian defence and slipped a pass through for Bale, who coolly dinked the ball past the goalie to seal a famous Welsh win. “We can’t just control matches for a lot of the games and pass the ball around”.
Their slick, incisive passing was a joy to watch at times, as Bale, Ramsey and Joe Allen all produced stellar performances. Wales gave him plenty of reason.
“We’d wanted to win the group, so finishing second will have to be OK for us”, he said.
Slovakia coach Jan Kozak kept faith with the starting side which beat Russian Federation 2-1 last Wednesday.
Finally, the victor of Group F (either Hungary, Iceland or Portugal) will play the Group E’s runner-up (either Belgium, Republic of Ireland, Italy or Sweden).
Prior to the Slovakia game, all five of England’s stars featured in the teams’ Euro 2016 sides, leading many to speculate that the struggle to get past Russian Federation and Wales were down to some inherent “Spursiness”.
Lallana started all three matches but has yet to register his first global goal, while Harry Kane and Sterling began in the side before making way for Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge. He first denied Vardy when the Leicester striker was superbly played through by Henderson in the 17th minute, and then blocked Lallana’s fine shot in the 33rd.
A glance at the statistics proves that England dominated the game.
They had one anxious moment in particular when a mix-up between goalkeeper Joe Hart and defender Chris Smalling almost let in Robert Mak, but otherwise they continued to put Slovakia under pressure.
At the other end, only the slightest of deflections off Kozacik’s shoulder blocked Nathan Clyne’s shot.