Monday, 20 June 2016

Russia vs Wales Euro 2016 Football Match Preview And Prediction - June 21, 2016


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Wales' Joe Ledley was substituted in the second half of their defeat by England after suffering from a tight calf, but he has declared himself fit.

As a result, Chris Coleman is expected to pick the same XI that started the England match.

Victory would secure Wales' spot in the knockout phase, in their first major international tournament since 1958.

Russia's Oleg Shatov is struggling with a groin problem and is doubtful to feature in Toulouse.

With Russia having underperformed thus far, coach Leonid Slutsky may be tempted to make wholesale changes.

"Whilst everybody will look at this game as the be all and end all, whether we progress or not, it's not the end of the journey for this team," Coleman said.

"Our players have done unbelievably well. It's been an eye-opener and hard, of course. It's really intense but it's been enjoyable."

Wales will top the group if they beat Russia and England fail to win. A draw for Wales will be good enough to secure a top-two place as long as Slovakia do not win.

Russia must beat Wales or they are out.

The Russians will be guaranteed second place if they win and England are also victorious.

Wales fans will spend the run-up to kick-off poring over the permutations to work out exactly what result means what in Group B, and what their team need to do to qualify for the knockout stages. The simplest equation of them all is; beat Russia and they are into the last 16.

Manager Coleman will have used the last few days to repair morale after the heartbreaking last-gasp defeat to England. When asked if it was one of the lowest moments of his career as a player or manager, he said: "Yes, yes. I'd have to say yeah, to be honest, when you come that close."

The Wales boss has put barely a foot wrong over the last two years, but he has been criticised in some quarters for the tactics his side employed against England.

Accusations that they were too defensive seems harsh, given they were just seconds away from securing a famous point which would have edged them closer to what would be a historic qualification.

Russia, one way or another, have disappointed, both on and off the pitch. Coach Leonid Slutsky has said the distraction of their hooligans hitting the headlines has had absolutely no impact on his side's performance against Slovakia. But, it took them about 70 minutes before they got going in Lille and it was a case of too little, too late as they lost to two fine goals from Marek Hamsik and Vladimir Weiss.

Head-to-head

Russia have won each of their last three meetings with Wales, outscoring them by six goals to two in that run.
In their last four games against Wales, Russia have successively scored no goals, one goal, two goals and finally three goals.
Wales' only win in five games against the USSR came in a 1966 World Cup qualifier, Ivor Allchurch scoring the late clincher in Cardiff (2-1).

Russia

A 3-0 victory over Lithuania in March is Russia's only win in their last seven internationals (D2, L4).
Only nine of Russia's 21 shots over the first two games have been taken from inside the box.
Russia's last three goals at the European Championship finals have all been headers.
They have qualified for the knockout stages of the Euros only once, in 2008, in their four participations since the breakup of the USSR.
Russia have kept two clean sheets in their last 17 games at the European Championship finals.
Four of Russia's last five goals scored in the European Championship finals have come in the final 11 minutes of games.

Wales

Wales have scored with their opening shot on target in each of their first two games at this tournament - both were direct free-kicks from Gareth Bale.
Bale has scored two goals from direct free-kick in his first two games - only Michel Platini (1984) and Thomas Hässler (1992) have scored as many in a European Championship finals tournament since 1980.
Since the start of the Euro 2016 qualifiers, Bale has scored or assisted 11 of Wales' 14 goals in competitive games (79%), the highest ratio among teams to have made it to this year's finals.
They have conceded in each of their last six internationals, their longest run without a clean sheet since an 11-match run between 2011 and 2013.
Wales reached the knock-out stages in the only previous time they reached the finals of a major tournament. They were knocked out of the quarter-finals of the 1958 World Cup by Brazil courtesy of a goal by Pele.

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