Euro 2016: Russia vs Wales - 5 players to watch out for
Victory is essential for Russia to progress while Wales will be looking to top the group with a win if results elsewhere go in their favour.
Russia take on Wales tonight in what is a must-win fixture for them. Victory for the Russians would see them through in all probability, as one of the 4 best 3rd position teams. A draw in their opening match against England raised Russian hopes, which were subsequently dashed by defeat to a Marek Hamsik inspired Slovakia.
To compound matters, Russia may be eliminated from Euro 2016 irrespective of the result tonight, as they are under a suspended ban from the tournament, thanks to violence incited by their fans.
Wales are in a far more comfortable situation compared to Russia. Victory against Slovakia on opening day gave them crucial 3 points, and a draw today will almost guarantee progression to the next round irrespective of the result between England and Slovakia.
Here we take a look at 5 players who shall have a significant impact on the result in tonight’s encounter.
#1 Gareth Bale
The one player everyone will surely have their eyes on, Gareth Bale is the catalyst behind every attacking move Wales generally make. The world’s most expensive player has got off to a flying start in Euro 2016, scoring 2 goals in 2 games for the Welsh, with both the goals coming courtesy of free kicks. Forget Messi or Ronaldo, if indeed there is a one man army type of team today in the world, it is Wales led by Gareth Bale.
In the opening match against Slovakia, Bale produced a moment of magic from a free kick which gave Wales the lead. Whenever Slovakia were dominating the game, Wales were dragged back into the match by Bale’s runs on the counter-attack. Indeed, were it not for their profligate finishing, Wales would have ended the match with a more comfortable margin of victory.
Bale led Wales to their first major tournament in over half a century with a stellar show during qualifying, and he will hope to carry on that form to ensure Wales at least make it to the last 16. Bale possesses phenomenal speed and a bombastic shot which he often utilises to devastating effect and tonight, Russia will be praying for him to have an off day.