England vs Russia – Preview and Prediction
Tournament favorite England will look to kick off their 2016 UEFA European Championship campaign with a bang as they clash with hard-fighting team Russia at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille on June 11, Saturday.
England will be bannered by a star-studded lineup headed by UEFA Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup winner Wayne Rooney of Manchester United together with this season’s Premier League top scorer Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur and Premier League champion striker Jamie Vardy of Leicester City, forming an awesome offensive triumvirate for head coach Roy Hodgson up front.
Their midfield and defense are also well-populated with top-notch players such as Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana, James Milner, Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling, and Kyle Walker to name a few. And, of course, the goal is tended by Manchester City veteran Joe Hart, making them the favorites to top Group B and to at least advance in the semifinals as well.
Rooney’s 18-year-old United teammate, Marcus Rashford, who had impressed in the recently concluded term at the Old Trafford, is also included in the lineup, injecting some young legs for Hodgson.
The English squad, ranked 11th overall in the world by FIFA, is coming off a 1-0 win over world no. 8 Portugal in their Euro sendoff last Friday at the Wembley Stadium, the Telegraph reported.
While the Vardy-Rooney-Kane trio is present in the match, the lone goal came from third captain Smalling at the 86th minute of the match, who was attended by an 82,000-strong crowd.
Meanwhile, Russia had a 1-1 draw with Serbia in their pre-tournament friendly on Monday at the Stade Louis II in Monaco, as per Daily Mail Online.
The goals were both scored in the last five minutes of the game when Russia striker Artyom Dzyuba of Zenit netted the first one at the 85th followed by the equalizer from Serbia’s Aleksandar Mitrović of Newcastle United three minutes later.
Russia is expected to finish second to England in Group B as manager Leonid Slutsky will have at his disposal some of his best and most experienced players at CSKA Moscow, namely Igor Akinfeev, Sergei Ignashevich, Vasili Berezutski, Roman Shirokov, Aleksandr Golovin, and Aleksei Berezutski.
However, one of the team’s weaknesses is that their lineup is already aging and could definitely use some young blood to become more competitive. The 20-year-old Golovin would provide some youth, but most of his teammates are already 30 years old and above.
The predicted result is a 3-1 rout for England.
England starting lineup (4-3-3 formation): Hart; Walker, Cahill, Smalling, Rose; Milner, Dier, Sterling; Kane, Rooney, Vardy
Russia starting lineup (4-3-3 formation): Akinfeev; Smolnikov, Berezutski, Ignashevich, Schennikov; Shatov, Glushakov, Golovin; Kokorin, Dzyuba, Smolov