England v Russia – EURO 2016 Betting Preview + Prediction
11 Jun 2016, Stade de Sagittaire, 19:00
England will go into this game looking to start the tournament very brightly and take a win. They qualified at a canter and have produced a few very impressive friendly results, coming into the tournament with just 2 defeats in their last 22 games. Their squad seems balanced and happy, looking to make a positive impact on the tournament. The young age of the squad takes some pressure off the team with less expected of them but a semi final berth at least is within their reach.
Their main selection dilemma surrounds how to arrange their attacking players. Roy Hodgson will not drop Rooney so the formation will be tailored around him and will mean fitting the rest of the team into this. Sterling and Lallana are favoured to start with Vardy and Milner likely to make way. England will be expected to be on the front foot and control the pace and tempo of the match. They’ll know the weaknesses of Russia, including a lack of pace, trying to use the trickery of Sterling amd Lallana to attack the slow Russian defence. They may introduce Vardy later on.
While England shouldn’t be overly troubled by a pedestrian Russia side defensively they will have to be wary of not being caught out on the counter attack. The full backs like to push high, leaving space behind which is the main area England can be exploited. With Wales coming up after this game it is important that they get a win heading into what will be probably their toughest game. The age of Russia’s squad will not suit the hot conditions so England will be looking to go ahead early and control the game.
Russia have been ravaged by injury problems in the lead up to the tournament and have picked up some more knocks prior to their opening match. Glushakov had become a vital member of the team in the absence of another defensive midfielder, but he picked up a hamstring knock in training. He’s rated doubtful, but should make the starting line-up even if not 100% fit. Russia would be more than happy with a point from their opening match, which they consider their toughest fixture. With expectations quite low before the injury issues, a narrow defeat wouldn’t be too disappointing for them. With a lack of cover in defensive midfield, Russia may look to attack to compensate and this could lead to an open game.
The Russian squad have no doubt been affected by the late withdrawal of important player Denisov. The players wore t-shirts during training on Wednesday with a message of support for their colleague, and will have to put their disappointment behind them. Expectation back home was already quite low going into the tournament before the injuries, so although the players will certainly doing all they can for the win, they know they don’t face too many consequences should they fail. Russia would certainly settle for a point in what is their most difficult match of the group phase. A defeat wouldn’t necessarily knock them out of the tournament, but a heavy defeat could do irreparable damage.
Prediction: Over 2 Goals
Odds: 1.85 Pinnacle
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