England vs. Russia – Euro 2016 Finals

England vs RussiaEngland open up their Euro 2016 against Russia

England will face Russia in their Euro 2016 Group B opener. England has played well over the course of the last year and a half. Expectations are high and they have to be odds-on favorites in this match. Russia does have the ability to come from behind if England fails to put this match away. The match between England and Russia will take place on Saturday, June 11, 2016, at 3:00 p.m. ET at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille. The fixture will be broadcast on ESPN.

The Russians underwhelmed in their first six matches of qualifying going W2-D2-L2 and looked in serious danger of missing out on a play-off spot. Their form has improved dramatically since the sacking of Fabio Capello in favor of CSKA Moscow boss, Leonid Slutsky, last August. Russia won each of their last four group games by an aggregate of 12-1 under Slutsky. This allowed them to secure automatic qualification to the Euro finals behind Austria and ahead of Sweden. Russia does have forwrd Aleksandr Kokorinwho has scored at least one goal for his team in three straight matches. Kokorin now has 13 goals in 40 matches in his career, and he’s the man who can bust this game open.

England comes into this tournament high on confidence. England were the only team to have progressed into the Euro 2016 Finals with a 10 for 10 winning record in qualifying. The Three Lions have not lost over 90 or 120 minutes in 22 Euro fixtures. Since then, England’s Euro record is W17-D5 in regulation-time and they have reached two quarter-finals and a semi-final through their last four appearances in the tournament finals.

Top Sports Blog is concerned that England’s defense hasn’t always been top notch in these international tournaments. The Brits have allowed eight goals in their last seven matches. It only takes one moment of lapse at the back to spring Kokorin, a man who is one of the deadliest strikers in the tournament. We think England will win this one. However, the fact that Russia have scored in each of their last 10 consecutive fixtures leading into the competition indicates that Hodgson’s side’s vulnerable looking defense may be breached in the process. One miscommunication at the back for England, and this goes from three points for England to just one.

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