Russia vs Wales by Luke
After getting only one point out of first two matches, Russia now needs to win this one in order to keep the chances of progressing further, or even to take the second position in case England's win their game against Slovakia which will be played at the same time tonight.
They worked hard for their point against English side, but the team disappointed in the second round when they suffered 2:1 defeat against Slovakia, not looking like a real team for the most of the game, but still managing to make pressure in last phase when they reduced the deficit as well. Denis Glushakov came off the bench to score that goal and coach Leonid Slutskiy might start the game now with him. Other than that, no other changes are expected.
Defensive midfielder Igor Denisov is injured, while the Russians should be playing in 4-2-3-1 formation with Dzyuba as striker, but also Smolov, Shatov and Kokorin as his first offensive help. Only a victory keeps the Russians with some chances, while any other outcome would mean that they have finished the tournament.
Wales, on the other side, left much better impression for now. They did well to get a victory over Slovakia in the first round, while the team was leading against England at the halftime and struggled well, having in mind their quality, for the most of the second halftime, but still got defeated with a 2:1 result, thanks to a goal conceded in second minute of additional time.
They now need a point at least two finish at least third and will be having decent chances to progress further in that case, while a victory would secure their position in last sixteen rounds and no doubt that the team will start the game with an idea to win it and seal the qualification for the knockout stage. Midfielder Joe Ledley picked up a leg injury in previous game and is doubtful now.
Coach Coleman believes the midfielder will be playing, while he has no other reason to change the squad. They should be playing in 3-5-1-1 formation with Robson-Kanu as number nine and Gareth Bale just behind him as offensive midfielder and biggest star of the team, together with Aaron Ramsey.
- Russia have been winning at both half time and full time in their last 3 matches against Wales.
Odds are more than valuable in my eyes at this moment. This shouldn't be a goal festival, but in a situation where both teams need to search for a goal and when the game should be more and more open as the time progresses, I can't resist but to take some option of over goals under such great odds. One way or another, this simply needs to be more open game during than the odds represent.