European football’s governing body, UEFA, meted out the suspended ban after scenes of disturbance marred Russia’s opening match against England in Marseille on Saturday. Dozens of fans were injured in clashes outside the Stade Velodrome in the French port city, while Russia fans were charged with “crowd disturbances, use of fireworks and racist behavior” inside the stadium.
Taking a Closer Look at the Top Betting Picks for Euro 2016 First RoundRussia is next in action on Wednesday against Slovakia. The Russians and English tied at one to open group play. Slovakia lost 2-1 to Wales. Russia has three wins and four draws in nine total matches against Slovakia. The teams haven’t met since 2014. Aleksandr Kerzhakov scored the only goal in the most recent encounter – a St Petersburg friendly in May 2014. Slovakia reached the 2016 finals thanks mainly to wins in their first six Group C qualifiers, a run that included a 2-1 home triumph against Spain – the holders’ first qualifying defeat in 36 matches and nine years.
Russia head coach Leonid Slutski has hinted at changes ahead of his side’s match on Wednesday in Lille, saying that “we need a different tactical approach.” The 45-year-old would not be drawn on whether this would mean any potential personnel changes, but he did admit that his side would likely be more entitled to attack. Russia is +137 on soccer betting lines with Slovakia at +205 and a draw at +210. A Slovakia loss eliminates it from advancing. On Thursday, England and Wales meet and Wales hasn’t beaten its local rivals since May 1984. The sides have met 104 times overall, with England winning 68 and losing 14 with 21 draws. The big story line between those two is the best player on the pitch is Wales striker Gareth Bale and he opted to compete in this tournament for Wales instead of England. Those two countries would have to finish first and second in their European Championship group to guarantee qualification for the knockout stage if Russia is expelled from the tournament. The competition regulations dictate that if a team is disqualified from Euro 2016, the results of all their matches are declared “null and void” and all points awarded forfeited.
The favorite to win the tournament remains host country France at +300 on betting lines. The French opened the tournament with a 2-1 win over Romania. Les Bleus face Albania on Wednesday as -435 favorites with draw at +440 and Albania a +1300 underdog. Albania drew 1-1 with France in Rennes and triumphed 1-0 at home in recent friendlies. The last time Albania faced France, a free-kick goal from Ergys Kaçe broke the deadlock, a well-executed shot that ended up being the winning goal for the “red and black.”
The Albanian midfielder is dealing with a knee injury, however, and is questionable for tomorrow’s match and it is highly unlikely that he will start. The Albanian side will be without captain Lorik Cana, a veteran of 92 international games who is crucial to his side either as a holding midfielder or a central defender. Cana will be missing through suspension after being sent off during the first half of Albania’s 1-0 loss to Switzerland on Saturday.
Les Bleus won the four previous meetings in international competitions against Albania with a goal difference of +10. And the French will win this comfortably in soccer betting.