Sturridge strikes late to seal 2-1 win for England

Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:10pm EDT
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By Philip O'Connor

LENS (Reuters) - Substitute Daniel Sturridge stabbed home a dramatic winner in stoppage time to steer England towards a 2-1 win over Wales and top spot in their Euro 2016 group on Thursday.

A goal down to Wales at halftime after Gareth Bale struck a wonderful free kick from 30 meters, England manager Roy Hodgson brought on forwards Sturridge and Jamie Vardy, whom many fans had wanted to see start the game, to replace the ineffectual Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane.

It turned out to be a pivotal change as Vardy, England's Footballer-of-the-Year in the Premier League this season for his goalscoring at champions Leicester City, grabbed an equalizer in the 56th minute.

Then, with England piling on the pressure in the dying seconds, Sturridge scrambled his way through the box to fire home the winner from close range.

The result left England at the top of Group B on four points, ahead of Wales and Slovakia on three and Russia bottom with just one point.

"It's a great feeling, unbelievable," Sturridge said. "I'm grateful for the opportunity. It's only one more game in the group so no-one should get too excited. But it was an amazing feeling. It's great to help the boys win the game."

Wales would have won the group with victory, but instead they will meet Russia in their final game with their destiny still very much in their own hands.

"Obviously, we're massively disappointed but I'm proud of everyone. Inside, we still feel strong, we still feel happy," said Wales goalscorer Bale.   Continued...

Football Soccer - England v Wales - EURO 2016 - Group B - Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens, France - 16/6/16 England's Daniel Sturridge celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Christian Hartmann