Russia 1-2 Slovakia
Slovakia were forced to hold off a late Russia comeback this afternoon as they hung on to a 2-1 win. The Slovakian’s dominated the first half leading by two at halftime thanks to strikes from Vladimir Weiss and Marek Hamsik. Russia very nearly staged a late comeback like they did against England when substitute Denis Glushakov headed home but the Slovaks had enough in the tank to take all three points.
The game was held in the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille. The game was played with the roof closed but the intense atmosphere didn’t distract from the poor playing surface. The first half was relatively uneventful with chances few and far between for both sides. Hamsik had Slovakia’s best early effort but he didn’t test keeper Igor Akinfeev. Oleg Shatov went close for Russia but his shot went left and wide. The deadlock was finally broken in the 31st minute when Hamsik fed the ball to Weiss. The winger made his way into the box before faking a shot leaving two Russian defenders for dead. He composed himself before curling an effort into the far corner past Akinfeev. A well worked and well taken goal by the ex-Manchester City man.
Russia were on the back foot now and were forced to endure a prolonged spell of Slovakian attacks. A 44th minute Slovakian corner didn’t seem too dangerous goalscorer Weiss played it short to Hamsik. The Napoli man made his way into the box slipped past one defender before curling a sensational effort into the top right corner of the Russian goal using the post as an aid to beat Akinfeev. A truly spectacular goal that saw Slovakia take a two goal lead into the break.
Russian manager Leonid Slutsky saw his side need a boost and made two half-time substitutions introducing Denis Glushakov and Pavel Mamaev for Neustaedter and Golovin. The second half was a fairly dull affair with few real chances for either side up until a frantic final quarter of an hour when the Russians went for broke. The introduction of Roman Shirokov invigorated the Russians and the substitute began to combine well with Shatov. With 10 minutes to go the Russians had cut the Slovaks lead in half. Shatov whipped in a cross from the left-wing which saw substitute Glushakov head past Kozacik. The Russians were frantic for the reaming minutes but failed to produce an effort that troubled the Slovakian keeper. A rigid defence kept the Russians at bay and saw Slovakia hold on for an important win.
Slovakia are joint top of Group B with Wales who will face England tomorrow. Russia are level with England with one point. Tomorrow’s game is even more important for the two sides.
Man of the Match – Marek Hamsik (Slovakia)
- Denis Glushakov replaces Roman Neustaedter 46 mins
- Pavel Mamaev replaces Aleksandr Golovin 46 mins
- Roman Shirokov replaces Aleksandr Kokorin 75 mins
- Adam Nemec replaces Ondrej Duda 67 mins
- Dusan Svento replaces Vladimir Weiss 72 mins
- Michal Duris replaces Robert Mak 80 mins
Russia – None
Slovakia – Jan Durica