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Euro 2016 profile: Russia set for tough task in Group B

Russia will contest both England and Wales in Group B.

We profile Russia, who look set for a tough Euro 2016 campaign in Group B alongside England, Wales and Slovakia.

We’re profiling all 24 teams at the Euro 2016 finals in France, so punters are in the know when it comes to the sides on show this summer.

Next up are Russia, a nation that will face a tough task this summer having been drawn against all of Roy Hodgson’s England, a history-making Wales and Slovakia in a challenging pool on French soil.

Leonid Slutsky possesses a somewhat ageing outfit and, after former boss Fabio Capello endured a disappointing World Cup in Brazil last summer when they exited at the group stage, the current coach is a best-priced 10/3 with bet365 to win Group B.

History at the Euros: The Russians have qualified for five European Championships including this upcoming summer’s showcase event, though their tournament record is far from impressive.

A semi-final appearance at Euro 2008 was their most notable outing to date, with that campaign marking their first and only progression past the group stage since the USSR disbanded.

Head coach: Slutsky took over from former coach Capello, also a previous England boss, last year and also balances his national team duties with club commitments with Russian Premier League giants CSKA Moscow.

The 44-year-old’s playing career was a very short one, with the former goalkeeper seeing his time ended at just 19 years of age, as he injured his knee falling out of a tree when rescuing a neighbour’s cat.

Key player: Zenit St Petersburg marksman Artem Dzyuba was his nation’s top scorer in qualifying for Euro 2016 and is an outside 66/1 shout with Sky Bet to claim the Golden Boot on French turf.

The 27-year-old will be key to any success gained and could enjoy a big summer, with only Thomas Muller, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robert Lewandowski scoring more during qualifying.

Rising star: Alan Dzagoev was once regarded as one of the hottest prospects in European football and was subject of speculation linking him to the Premier League, in particularly Chelsea, as a teenager.

But now, at 25, he is still one of the youngest of an ageing squad and could finally shine in attacking midfield, after striking once in eight qualifying outings.

Wildcard: Igor Akinfeev has previously come under fire for his performances, but the experienced shot stopper will have to be at his best to help Russia progress from Group B.

The CSKA goal guard is closing in on 100 caps for his country and will look to be a key factor in gaining redemption for their underwhelming World Cup.

Confirmed Russia Euro 2016 fixtures
All kick-offs are British Summer Time (BST)
Saturday, June 11: Group C, England v Russia (20:00); Stade Velodrome, Marseille, ITV
Wednesday, June 15: Group C, Russia v Slovakia (14:00); Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille, BBC
Monday, June 20: Group C, Russia v Wales (20:00); Stadium de Toulouse, ITV

All odds were correct at time of posting.

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