Russia and Slovakia look for their first win in the Euro 2016 when they face-off against each other at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille on Wednesday afternoon.
Russia profit from a lacklustre England in by drawing 1-1 in their opening group fixture on Saturday, courtesy of an injury time goal from Captain Vasili Berezutski. The Russians were easily the second best team all evening, but the late equalizer against a team that were tipped to lose will lift their confidence going to the later games of the group.
A wasteful Slovakia and were rightly punished by Bale and co in the 2-1 defeat against Wales in the opening fixture pushing them to the bottom of the group. The head-coach Jan Kozak can take plenty of positives from their build-up play, but will be extremely disappointed at the number of chances he gave away at the other end.
The draw against England is Russia’s second in a draw, but tasted defeats in the previous two. They remain without a win in their last four across all formats and the majority of their issues came from their defense. Despite let just one goal each in their previous two matches, Russia’s defense is still inconsistent, which was evident from the number of chances they gave away to English forwards. At the same time, their scoring capability is not under question as they have netted in every game since September 2015, which now stretches to 11 consecutive matches.
Slovakia came to Euros on the back of an 8 match unbeaten run, with a 3-1 win against Germany in May being the most impressive. At the same time, with the defeat against Wales, they are left with just two wins from their last 6, the rest 3 being draws. They are largely inconsistent and were held to 0-0 stalemates by teams of low stature – Latvia and Northern Ireland during that period.
Russia Team News:
Roman Neustadter made his competitive debut for Russia in the 1-1 draw against England and he is expected to continue there.
Leonid Slutsky has a fully fit squad at his disposal and hardly any changes are expected from the team that earned a precious point from the opening Group A encounter against England.
Russia: Predicted Line-up (4-2-3-1)
Akinfeev – Shchennikov, Berezutski, Ignashevich, Smolnikov – Neustadter, Golovin – Smolov, Shatov, Kokorin – Dzyuba.
Slovakia: Team News
Jan Kozak is keeping tabs on the fitness of Tomas Hubocan and Norbert Gyomber, who are recovering from their respective injuries.
Adam Nemec could start in place of Michal Duris after the latter’s disappointing show against Wales. Patrik Hrosovsky is also expected to make way for Viktor Pecovsky in the defensive midfield.
Slovakia: Predicted Line-up (4-2-3-1)
Kozacik – Svento, Durica, Skrtel, Pekarik – Pecovsky, Kucka – Weiss, Hamsik, Mak – Nemec.
Russia vs Slovakia: Head-to-Head Stats
- In the 8 matches played between them, Russia are edge the head-to-head record with 3 wins, 3 draws and 2 losses.
- The last meeting between the sides was in a friendly on November 2014 at the Stadion Petrovskij, where a late goal by Aleksandr Kerzhakov handed Russia a 1-0 win.
- The met on 4 occasions in competitive matches, they teams share one win each and drawn the other two.Russia are on two match winning run against Slovakia and lost just once in the last 6.
- The last six matches between the two sides had seen under 2.5 goals, with the last four seeing under 1.5.
Russia vs Slovakia: Prediction
A defeat for either team might be the end of their hopes for automatic promotion, depending on the result for England vs Wales match. Right now the group is wide open and both teams will look for a win, but this is expected to be a highly tactical affair.
Russia will go into this game with good confidence after holding England to a draw. Slovakia on the other hand will be desperate to bounce back with a win and they are a team who likes to attack and are expected to take the game to the Russians.
The last four matches between these sides have seen under 1.5 goals, which can be rather broken down to 3 goals from 4 matches. But both sides have plenty of issues in the defense this time and we may well see 3 or more goals in this match. So expect both teams to score and it will be one decisive goal that separated them at the final whistle. I also expect an early goal, which will set the match on fire for the rest of full 90 minutes.
Predicted Full Time Score: Russia 2-1 Slovakia.
- Both Teams to Score (odds 1.90)
- Over 2.5 goals (odds 2.25)
- First Half – Over 0.5 goals (1.50)