Lakenheath Old Boys

We are all former students at Lakenheath High School and other public schools in East Anglia. We were in school in the 70s and 80s and drank deeply from the well of British culture of those decades - the pints, the telly, and of course the footie!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Euro 2016 - Group B: Russia and Slovakia

Tonight, it's the turn of the also-rans in Group B, starting with Russia:

Absurd FIFA ranking: 27th

Coach: The awesomely named Leonard Slutsky

Match Schedule: 

June 11 - Russia v. England (Marseille, 3pm EST, ESPN)
June 15 - Russia v. Slovakia (Lille, 9am ESPN)
June 20 - Russia v. Wales  (Toulouse, 3pm, ESPN)

Prospects: Russian moods were at an all-time low after a disastrous performance in the group stage at Brasil 2014. After having shed some Fabio Capello weight, new manager Slutsy has lifted spirits, with Russia winning their last four matches to qualify for France 2016. Russia remain a fairly functional yet unexciting outfit. Slutsky might have called up players from FC Rostov, the Leicester City of Russia, but decided that it might be too risky. Keep an eye out for FC Krasnodar's in-form striker Fedor Smolov - otherwise Russian are unlikely to shine.

Prediction: Much will rely on their match up on June 15th with Slovakia; however, I expect Russia to qualify as one of the better third placed teams. Out in the Round of 16, possibly to Germany.

On to Slovakia, who are beginning to be tournament regulars:

Nickname: "The Fighting Jondas" (really!)

Absurd FIFA ranking: 32nd

Coach: Jan Kozak

Match Schedule: 

June 11 - Slovakia v. Wales (Bordeaux, 12pm EST, ESPN)
June 15 - Slovakia v. Russia  (Lille, 9am, ESPN)
June 19 - Slovakia v. England (Saint Etienne, 3pm, ESPN)

Prospects: Slovakia have a tight little cohort, featuring the likes of Liverpool's Martin Skrtel and Napoli playmaker Marek Hamsik who have played together since they were kids and have a good deal of high-level European experience. Their squad is notably thin, so won't be able to go the distance in France. But what they lack in depth, they make up for in heart. Could surprise a few but I still expect them to crash out in the group stages.

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