Day six preview
On day six of Euro 2016, Russia and Slovakia kick-off off the action in Group B. The game could be a vital one in the hopes of both team’s qualification hopes.
Russia were fortunate to get a 1-1 draw in their opening game against England. The Russians struggled to make an impact in attack and their tactic of using giant striker Artem Dzyuba as a focal point failed to pay-off.
They will need to produce better going forward in this clash to record their first win of the campaign, as they looked toothless when going attacking.
Slovakia were second best for much of the first half against Wales, but enjoyed a better second period, which is when they scored the vital equalising goal for Ondrej Duda. However slackness in defence meant they failed to take anything from their opener.
Star player Marek Hamsik needs to be more involved in this clash if Slovakia are to pull-off a win against, in a game that the Slovakia simply cannot afford to lose.
The nine meetings between these two teams have been relatively even, with Russia winning three times, Slovakia winning twice and four games finishing in draws.
Attention then turns to Group A for the evening clash, as Romania and Switzerland go head-to-head in Parc de Princes.
Romania were unfortunate to lose their opening game 2-1 against hosts France, as they produced a typically solid defensive display to keep the French at bay in the first half. Olivier Giroud broke their stubborn resistance in the second half, but Bogdan Stancu equalised just eight minutes later.
Romania had the best defensive record in qualifying, but there was little they could do to prevent a wonder strike from Dimitri Payet winning the game on 89 minutes.
With their defence so well-drilled, Romania will always have a chance and no doubt they will be slightly more ambitious going forward against Switzerland. Romania cannot afford another defeat.
Switzerland kicked-off their campaign with an underwhelming 1-0 win over ten-man Albania, who had captain and centre-back Lorik Cana sent-off on 37 minutes after Florin Schar had given the Swiss the lead.
Vladimir Petrovic’s side were criticised for not extending their lead, but in truth Albania parked the bus for much of the game and the three points were the most important thing in the opening game. This could be a slightly more open game, with the Romanians needing to pick-up a result, the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri could have more of an effect on the game.
Switzerland will be looking to secure maximum points with a game against favourites in the last group game.
The two teams have met on 12 occasions, with both teams recording five wins each and two games have been drawn.
The evening kick-off sees hosts France facing group underdogs Albania in Marseille, as Les Bleus look to move one step closer to making it to the last 16 of the competition.
France eventually overcame a very stubborn Romania 2-1 on Saturday night, but they were nowhere near their best against the eastern Europeans. The highlight of the performance was West Ham playmaker Dimitri Payet’s performance.
The game give French boss Didier Deschamps more questions than answers and he may well rotate his squad, with the likes of Kingsley Coman and Anthony Martial chomping at the bit for a starting place after coming on as substitutes against the Romanians.
The French like major favourites and the host nation will be disappointed if they do not claim a convincing win in this clash.
Albania are major underdogs in this clash and the opening game 1-0 loss to Switzerland was not a big surprised, especially after captain Lorik Cana was dismissed in the first half. In fact The Albanians did little to expel their status of underdogs.
They defended relatively well, but the sending-off restricted their attempts at attacking. It would be a major surprise if they attack Les Bleus, as they are likely to set their stall out to defend and hit the French on the counter-attack.
It seems highly-unlikely that Albania will avoid defeat and their chances of making it out of the group would then be ended.