EURO 2016: Russia-Slovakia
The second round of the EURO 2016 group phase gets underway on Wednesday with an interesting Group B clash Russia vs. Slovakia being the opener. With both of these sides in search of their first victory at the tournament, we can expect an entertaining and tightly contested battle from their upcoming head-to-head encounter. Despite being winless in their first matches, they both still want to progress from the group, which is why both of these teams will go all-out for a win. Starting at 3 PM (CET), the match between Russia and Slovakia will be played at the Pierre Mauroy Stadium in Lille.
As the Russians were not overly impressive in their qualifiers and their preparation was also far from successful, their fans were quite doubtful about the Russian national teamÃ‚Â´s performance at EURO 2016. Moreover, SlutskyÃ‚Â´s squad are without some of their key players who stayed at home due to injury. Consequently, Russia were regarded underdogs in their opening duel against England who brought a very strong and ambitious outfit to the championship. Just as expected, the English were dominant in most of the game and fully merited the lead they were given when TottenhamÃ‚Â´s midfielder Dier converted a free kick in the 73rd minute. Russia, exhausted by their prior defensive efforts, were not even able to get the English under pressure at the end of the match but eventually, they did manage to equalize the score when their captain Berezutski soared above the English defenders and scored a stunning looping header at the stoppage time. As undeserved as the draw might have been for the Russians, they will surely be encouraged by this result and try to produce their first win in the Wednesday game against Slovakia.
Unlike their Wednesday rivals Russia, Slovakia achieved great results in both their qualifiers as well as in their friendly matches, which significantly boosted their confidence and made them really excited about their debut at the European championship. In their first EURO game ever, the Slovaks faced off another debutants Wales. Slovakia kicked off the duel with a big chance when the teamÃ‚Â´s captain Hamsik thought he had already scored, following a brilliant run but the goal was denied by a great DaviesÃ‚Â´ block. Wales created few chances in the first half but they did open the score after their iconic striker Bale showed his qualities with a free kick goal. In the second half, Slovakia got their rivals under a huge pressure and they were rewarded with an equalizer scored by Duda. Yet, it was the British who had the final say after Kanu scored WalesÃ‚Â´ second goal at the end of game, leaving Slovakia with no points. Nevertheless, Slovakia delivered a solid performance in the fixture and if they improve their scoring efficiency, they might earn their first victory in their next game against Russia.
Slovakia failed to claim any points in their opener against Wales but they can definitely take heart from the courageous performance they gave in the game. The teamÃ‚Â´s captain Hamsik proved he really is a world-class footballer and several other players including Duda and Mak also gave a very good display in their first duel. The Russians, on the other hand, were less impressive in their opener England but they were lucky enough to claim a draw. Will one of these two sides clinch their first victory at the tournament? We will know by Wednesday afternoon.
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