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Retrospect: Looking Back At England v Russia

Although Euro 2016 is just a few days old it would be fair to say that the scenes on and off the pitch in France have been eventful, writes Michael Bowers.

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Summer time is here, and the Euros have arrived.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen The Good, the Bad and The Ugly – the good performance from England against Russia, the bad way they dropped two points right at the death, and the ugly violence that’s seems to be hanging over the opening stages of this year's tournament.

I’d like to imagine those idiots who have stirred up trouble are just a minority but it doesn’t make what I’ve read less sickening. I’m glad I’m not there, and I shouldn’t be saying that; I should be jealous or desperate to be in France right now.

Euro 2016 is supposed to be an exciting event for football fans of different nationalities to come together and support their national side on the pitch. Unfortunately, with there being so many people around, there will be some who see the tournament as an opportunity to cause trouble. Hopefully those responsible will get what’s coming to them.

On the pitch, England’s campaign kicked off with a rather-frustrating draw against Russia; a game that should have been out of sight by the time they scored.

There were some things in the match that left me scratching my head, such as why Harry Kane is our man taking set pieces when surely, as displayed by his last two seasons leading the line at Tottenham, he should be in the box getting his head on crosses. Another baffling thing was the non-inclusion of Jamie Vardy.

I still think Vardy is a one-season wonder but surely after playing a significant part in Leicester winning the Premier League he should have been included in the starting line-up or at least brought on from the bench with enough time to affect the outcome of the match.

That being said, England’s performance was very good for the most part although I do wonder how much of that was down to the fact that Russia are not the best of sides. I guess we’ll find out in due course how good we really are assuming we can get out of this group and into the knockout rounds of the tournament.

But the Three Lions created chances – some very good ones too – and generally looked comfortable at the back until the last few minutes. It is however a big worry that we cannot kill teams off and I’m pretty sure that Wales will provide a sterner test this week than Russia did.

I wouldn’t go as far to say they’re a one-man team but without the brilliant Gareth Bale, they wouldn’t be at Euro 2016 for me. Aaron Ramsey and Ashley Williams are two other very good players for them and Chris Coleman will have his side up for this game. They’ll obviously want to build on their win over Slovakia.

While it’s still disappointing to have not won the Russia game, that point may well still prove to be vital in the next two weeks or so.

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