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Subs come through as England tops Wales at Euros

Associated Press

Lens, France —Jamie Vardy equalized with his third touch of the ball. Daniel Sturridge scored the winner in the first minute of injury time.

England’s halftime substitutes came up big.

Emboldened by some aggressive changes by coach Roy Hodgson, England rallied to beat Wales, 2-1, Thursday in an all-British match at the European Championship to go to the top of Group B.

Gareth Bale put Wales ahead in the 42nd minute by scoring his second long-range free kick of the tournament, forcing Hodgson into some bold halftime changes that belied his reputation as a defensive-minded coach.

Vardy took 11 minutes to score, pouncing on a miscued headed clearance by Wales captain Ashley Williams to hook in a finish from six meters. Sturridge also perked up England’s attack with his movement and probing runs, and scored the winner after forcing his way into the area, shoving aside his marker and finishing right-footed inside the near post.

“The manager made some positive changes,” England captain Wayne Rooney said. “And it paid off for us.”

From looking in a weak position in the group, the English now find themselves in first place and cannot finish lower than third, likely earning a spot in the last 16.

“Congrats to Roy,” Wales coach Chris Coleman said. “He made some good substitutions and we knew they would push us back … We are gutted but we have to move on.”

Germany 0, Poland 0: At Saint-Denis, Germany and Poland played out the first goalless draw of the tournament.

Poland’s Arkadiusz Milik had a glaring miss as he miscued a header and the ball bounced just wide of the right-hand post less than 20 seconds into the second half.

Northern Ireland 2, Ukraine 0: At Lyon, Northern Ireland secured its first victory in a major competition in 34 years.

Building on a strong finish to the first half, Gareth McAuley headed in a free kick from Oliver Norwood in the 49th minute and substitute Niall McGinn added a second deep in stoppage time.

First round

All games in France

THURSDAY

GROUP B

England 2, Wales 1

GROUP C

Germany 0, Poland 0

Northern Ireland 2, Ukraine 0

FRIDAY

GROUP D

Czech Republic vs. Croatia, noon

Spain vs. Turkey, 3 p.m.

GROUP E

Italy vs. Sweden, 9 a.m.