RUSSIA 1-2 SLOVAKIA
Euro 2016 continues and Group B is starting to play again, as the first round of fixtures for all groups (A to F) were all completed and we come back around to the same teams again for the second fixtures of the tournament in France.
This game featured Russia, who were officially warned by UEFA that if their fans displayed the kind of violence that was shown to England fans in this tournament already, then the Russian team would be banned from competing any further, effectively knocked out of the competition whether they earned enough points in their group to qualify for the next round or not.
Slovakia have done enough to keep them at the bottom of their group anyway, though. Russia would have to at least beat Wales in their next fixture to have any chance of moving up their group table.
Slovakia started this game with a 4-2-3-1 formation that had Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel in the center of the back 4. Skrtel was an essential part of the team that helped his country defend well enough to ensure they conceded less goals than their opponents.
Another essential part of their team was Marek Hamsik, a Napoli midfielder that Rafa Benitez would have had in his side as he managed Napoli to their Coppa Italia victory in 2014. This Cup Final winning side had also included former Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina.
With Skrtel holding the back line strong and Hamsik controlling the midfield, the Russians looked overwhelmed and struggled to find a way forwards often and when they did it ended in simply being stopped and turned around as they were forced to give possession over and make time for yet another Slovakia counter attack.
Russia hadn’t changed the side that managed a 1-1 draw (late in injury time) against England already, but this side didn’t seem to be able to manage even a draw against this Slovakia team. Again, Russia would come up with a late goal from substitute Glushakov (around the 80th minute this time) but the first half had already seen Slovakia score twice and it was nothing more than consolation for the Russians.
Slovakia’s goals were both either created by or scored by Marek Hamsik. The first goal was an assist from Hamsik to his teammate Vladimir Weiss around the 32nd minute and by the 45th minute Hamsik had scored himself and given his country a 2 goal lead by half time. They wouldn’t score in the second half but they didn’t need to, enough was done already to ensure their victory.
Man of The Match? Marek Hamsik.
Hamsik was the key player in this fixture, doing enough to assist a teammate for a goal and eventually scoring a goal himself also. He showed strength in Slovakia’s midfield that will be a threat to any opponent they face.
Group B are still to finish playing more fixtures (including the England V Wales fixture we will report on later) and we’ll have news about the Liverpool players in those games. Keep coming back to find out how they did.
You’ll Never Walk Alone, Anfield Family.
[written by] Stuart Drewery.
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so I was born into being a red.
I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (more than 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.