Now that England’s final Euro 2016 squad has been named, the national team has a last chance to extend its run in the lead up to the finals against Portugal.
Roy Hodgson’s preparations have gone quite smoothly with relatively comfortable wins against Turkey and Australia at the Etihad and Stadium of Light respectively. Now they return to Wembley to face a Portuguese team which recently beat Norway comfortably 3-0 at the Estádio do Dragão.
Portugal’s recent international form has been patchy, with wins against Belgium and Luxembourg followed by losses to Russia and Bulgaria, the latter at home, after Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty.
Fernando Santos’ men had a relatively easy run to the finals, only being beaten once, by surprise qualifiers Albania in Aveiro. On their travels in the group, Portugal maintained a perfect record beating all the other teams by a solitary goal.
Both Ronaldo and fellow Real Madrid Champions League winner Pepe, both of whom missed the game against Norway, have been given extra time to recover and neither will feature at Wembley.
England have no injury worries ahead of the game and probably Hodgson’s greatest wish is for the whole squad to emerge unscathed ahead of the opening game in two weeks.
It will be an opportunity to nail down his starting eleven and develop partnerships across the field. Up front England appear to have an abundance of riches with Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy scoring regularly and now Marcus Rashford is off the mark, scoring within the first three minutes of his senior debut against the Socceroos.