This game is the second fixture of Group B in Euro 2016 and it sees England take on Russia. Roy Hodgson’s men will be hoping to get off to a positive start in this game, which should hopefully set them up well for the remainder of the group.
England eased past the qualifying stages of the competition, winning all 10 of their fixtures and only conceding three goals in the process. This achievement seems even more impressive when you see that they defeated Switzerland both home and away, a team which consists of numerous top class players, including Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri, who could have potentially caused England significant problems.
Roy Hodgson’s squad of players is made up of an abundance of youth which is lacking in experience. But this lack of experience is accompanied with a distinct increase in quality within the squad, with competition for places being evident in each position. This England squad has improved in my opinion since the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and is arguable the best squad of players put together since the infamous Euro 96 squad.
In past tournaments, England have failed to start their tournament with a victory and this time around, it is as vital as ever for England to start off well, with very capable opponents in Wales, Russia and Slovakia lying in wait to topple the group favorites England.
England’s first opponents in this international tournament are Russia, a nation who finished second in their Euro 2016 qualification group, above Sweden. A team who on their day, are capable of competing against any of the top teams in the world, this is made possible by them possessing a player of the immense quality like Zlatan Ibrahimović.
Russia will be disappointed to be missing Alan Dzagoev for tonight’s game, who has been an integral part of their set up for a number of years. Russia’s most important player for tonight’s game is arguably Artem Dzyuba, who has had an impressive season for Zenit St Petersburg, bagging 23 goals in all competitions.
In the end, I see this game edging England’s way with Roy Hodgson’s men earning a 2-1 victory. I feel that this game may be tougher for England than some are expecting, but The Three Lions should have enough to start this tournament with an essential victory over Russia.
England – Hart; Walker, Cahill, Smalling, Rose; Alli, Dier, Rooney; Sterling, Kane, Lallana
Russia – Akinfeev; Smolnikov, Berezutski, Igashevich, Schennikov; Neustadter, Golovin, Kokorin, Shatov, Smolov, Dzyuba