Russia v Wales, Monday June 20
Toulouse, Live on ITV, 8pm
The final matches in Group B take place on Monday evening when England take on Slovakia in St Etienne and Wales meet Russia in the Stadium de Toulouse (8pm, ITV). The requirement for Russia is simple: Win or you’re definitely out. For Wales it is slightly more complicated. If they win against Russia, they are guaranteed to finish in the top 2. A draw will be enough for second place so long as England don’t lose to Slovakia. If Wales lose, they could still go through as the third placed qualifier, but they’ll only have 3 points to their name, and that might not be good enough. Simple, huh?
Russia – the story so far
If Euro 2016 was awarded to the team with the biggest shitbag fans then Russia would have qualified for the knockout phases before a ball had been kicked. Unfortunately for them, it’s what happens on the pitch rather than the stands that really matters. Int heir first match against England they were outplayed for virtually the entire game before nicking a point with their only real attack of the game.
In their two matches to date, despite having had a total of 19 shots, they’ve only averaged 2 shots on target per match. Nowhere near good enough – they are not creating enough chances and they’re nowhere near clinical enough with the chances they are creating.
In their most recent match against Slovakia, Leonid Slutsky’s team found themselves 0-2 down at half time, and though Denis Glushakov’s late consolation briefly threatened to spark a revival in all honesty a defeat was all Russia deserved from the game.
Wales – the story so far
Bouncebackability is the name of the game for Wales on Monday night. On paper an abject Russian side should give Chris Coleman’s team few sleepless nights ahead of this match. What remains to be seen, however, is how the heartbreak of England’s late winner in Lens will effect the Welsh spirit.
In truth what will be playing more on the minds of the Welsh was the manner in which they went into their shell after Gareth Bale’s free-kick opener, and the reality of Thursday’s match was they were never able to maintain a sustained period of pressure at any point in the game.
Wales know that in all likelihood a draw will be good enough in this game – only a Slovakian win against England would deny them second place in the group. My guess would be that in the first half Wales will try to sit deep, soak up pressure, play on the break and keep one eye on the result St Etienne. If England take the lead in their match, it’s unlikely that Wales will over-extend themselves and chase the victory here – if England win, they are guaranteed top spot, so there is little to be gained by Wales over-committing in search of a winner. The draw here looks the logical result.
- Wales to win (draw no bet) @
- Under 2.5 goals @
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