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Russia vs Slovakia Betting Tips & Predictions

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Russia vs Slovakia Predictions

Many of the headlines will be taken by horrendous off the field events when it comes to Russia, but you can’t deny that they performed very well given the abilities of their squad. They suffered a number of key injuries before the tournament, but their ageing back line held England at bay for over 70 minutes in their opener, and after conceding the opener they took advantage of a lack of midfield control from England to snatch a last ditch equaliser thanks to captain and centre back Vasili Berezutski.

This point could prove invaluable once the totals are tallied up at the end of the Euro 2016 group stages, and a win against Slovakia on Wednesday would put them in prime position to extend their stay in France, much to the opposition fans’ dismay.

However, Russia aren’t known for winning matches at the moment. They have only won one of their last five and have lost three times, and despite being drawn in a relatively easy qualifying group they only managed 20 points from their ten group matches and finished behind Austria in 2nd.

Slovakia looked decent throughout qualifying as they finished in 2nd position, five points adrift of Spain and three ahead of Ukraine below them. However, their reliance on Marek Hamsik has been highlighted as a potential issue.

It certainly didn’t seem like an issue when he slalomed his way through the Wales defence in the 3rd minute of their opener, only to be denied by a last ditch Ben Davies block. The Napoli forward looked world class at times in that match, but their lack of talent in other areas let them down as Wales’ high pressure system forced them into mistakes. Ten minutes into the game their goalkeeper made a grave error as he shifted to his left as Gareth Bale struck a 30 yard free kick, and as a result saw the ball sail into the net exactly where he had been standing seconds before.

Slovakia switched styles in the second half to allow for more midfield runners to create space between the Wales defence and midfield, and it instantly paid off as substitute Ondrej Duda drove in an equaliser a minute after coming on. It was anybody’s game then, but the relentless pressure from Wales took it’s toll on Slovakia, and eventually Hal Robson-Kanu could scuff in a 2nd for Wales, who then held on for a 2-1 win in their first international tournament appearance in nearly 60 years.

This ended Slovakia’s eight match unbeaten streak and resigned them to just their 2nd defeat in their last 21 matches, with 14 of those games ending in victory. Unfortunately for them only two of their last six games have ended in a win, but a 3-1 win at Germany will stick in the memory.

I think Slovakia deserved a point in the opening game and I expect them to have a better time of it on Wednesday, especially since Russia will allow them a bit more time on the ball. Russia have conceded in five of their last six matches as well, including each of their last four, so the talent of Marek Hamsik should be able to create a few openings.

Slovakia have found the net in seven of their last nine matches too, but in each one of those they have conceded as well. This will give confidence to Russia, who haven’t failed to net in 11 games. This makes odds of 10/11 for Both Teams to Score look very good value, but I think Russia have the better quality of player overall so I’m backing a 2-1 win for them at 17/2.

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