Euro 2016: Russia vs Slovakia - Match prediction and head to head record
The first match of Match Day number 5 sees Russia take on Slovakia at the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille. This will be an interesting match, both on and off the field, as potential disqualification looms over Russia.
This will also be an important match in the context of Group B as a win would, in all probabilities, take Russia to the next stage of the tournament. A loss for Slovakia could potentially end their dreams of qualifying for the top 16 of the Euros. However, all eyes would be on the stands and the Russian fans.
Russia broke many English hearts as they scored an injury time equalizer against England in their opening Group B match at Marseille. They will be looking to carry on their momentum in the match against Slovakia as well. The Golden Eagles could put themselves in a strong position in Group B if they manage to get past Slovakia.
Igor Akinfeev would want to carry on his impressive form in goal for Russia, while Artem Dzyuba will look to put the opposition defence under pressure. Leonid Slutsky is not expected to make too many changes from their 1-1 draw against the Three Lions’.
Leonid Slutsky will probably play the same formation he deployed against England. Russia are expected to play in their favored 4-2-3-1 formation. Dzyuba will be the lone striker.
Slovakia lost their opening match to Wales, thanks to a late Robson-Kanu goal for the Welsh team. Slovakia has to win this match, or they’ll put themselves under a lot of pressure and would make qualification for the top 16 very difficult.
Slovakia would rely heavily on Napoli midfielder, Marek Hamsik, to set up and score goals. Slovakia captain, Martin Skrtel, will be pivotal in defense. Jon Kozak prefers the 4-2-3-1 formation and his team will look to sit deep and hit Russia on the counter. Given Russia’s ageing defense, this formation will cause a problem to them.
Head to Head:
This will be the ninth time Russia and Slovakia face each other. Russia have won three, Slovakia have won two and three matches ended in a draw. In their last encounter, Russia won 1-0, thanks to a late Alexander Kerzhakov goal. The teams faced each other twice before in European Championships, with Russia and Slovakia winning one-a-piece.
The match promises to be a close one, as both the teams are well matched on paper. Russia will have a slight mental advantage after their thrilling draw against England. However, both the teams lack attacking flair, and the predicted scoreline for this match would be 1-0 in favour of Slovakia.