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England Beats Wales 2-1 And Might Actually Win Euro 2016

They're not going to Brexit this tournament in a hurry.

17/06/2016 9:55 AM AEST | Updated July 15, 2016 12:54
Reuters Staff / Reuters
He did his best overnight to engineer a Wexit.

There's something different about this England team. Something that makes you think they might win the Euro 2016 tournament at the precise moment in history when the British populace is weighing up its economic future in Europe.

England teams of old would have crumbled when Wales' Spanish-based superstar Gareth Bale put his side ahead 1-0 just before halftime in a match England had been dominating.

England keeper Joe Hart could and should have done better against this free kick from 32 metres out. It wasn't quite as bad as the British goalie howler at the 2010 World Cup, which you can see a lego recreation of below. But it was bad.

But England recovered. The youngest English squad at a major tournament in 58 years too is playing attractive free-flowing football. But could it play composed football too?

It could. Led by Wayne Rooney -- the boy wonder turned balding elder statesman of the team -- England played hard and hungry. They look like a team united. Normally that's just a suffix you put on the end of a team from Manchester, but England United is actually a thing right now.

The goals came, and of course, Leicester City hero Jamie Vardy scored one of them. This was just a regulation tap-in and Vardy. There was some appeal for offside, but the goal stood because Welsh captain Ashley Williams inadvertently played Vardy on.

The last goal was a beauty, started and finished by Liverpool superstar Daniel Sturridge. And just in the nick of time, too. Both goals are below.

This was a victory for manager Roy Hodgson, who brought on both goal scorers in an inspired double-substitution at half-time. But above all, it was a victory for English football, which looks cohesive and committed rather than fleetingly flashy but mostly flaky as it has in the past.

Could they win the whole tournament? Well, England are now fourth favourites behind hosts France, Germany and Spain with the sports bookies. They next face Slovakia on Tuesday. We'll know more then.

It'd be ironic if England rule Europe football in Europe at the very moment in time they may turn their back on the continent economically.

There's a long way to go until that happens, though it's worth mentioning that England had never won a game in a major tournament after being behind at halftime. Something big could be brewing. The real question is whether we Aussies should be cheering.

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