Russia go into their second group game knowing at a win could all but secure qualification to the Round of 16, while their opponents Slovakia will be looking to open their Euro 2016 account and keep their own hopes of group stage progression alive.
It was mixed fortunes for the two sides on Saturday, Slovakia went down to a Gareth Bale inspired Wales while Russia were fortunate to grab an injury time equaliser against England.
Much has been made at the fact that Russia have been grabbing the headlines for matters off the pitch, UEFA have handed down a suspended disqualification from the tournament to Russia after their fans misbehaviour inside the Stade Velodrome on Saturday night. They will look to put all that focus behind them and hope that their fans don’t undo all their hard work by getting in more trouble over the next few days
In Saturday’s encounter against England it’s fair to say certainly for the first 45 minutes they looked lethargic but credit to them they came into the game after the break. Igor Akinfeev was impressive and made an absolutely phenomenal save to keep out Wayne Rooney’s effort. On any other night England would have comfortably won that game but with Akinfeev keeping them in it they scored just when it matters, it’s still unclear as to who exactly scored but all the important thing is that they got a point on the board
As for Slovakia they started brightly and Marek Hamsik thought he had scored after just 3 minutes after dancing through the Wales defence only for Ben Davies to clear off the line. Juraj Kucka will look to impose himself more in the game than he did against Wales while Martin Skrtel will look to have a quieter time after being ran ragged by Jonny Williams in Bordeaux
You always felt this was going to be a group in which teams would take points off each other and you get the feeling that this could be the case this Afternoon. I’m going to go for a draw which will play very nicely into England and Wales’s hands, a share of the points for me. One that probably won’t help either side