The second round of group fixtures gets underway as France are expected to make it two wins out of two against Albania, Romania take on Switzerland looking for their first win and Russia face Slovakia.
Russia v Slovakia
1400 ~ Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Villeneuve-d’Ascq
Despite a last-minute equaliser in their opening match against England, Russia gaffer Leonid Slutsky wants his side to remain focused on a tough match with Slovakia as they aim to make it out of a tough group.
“In terms of being euphoric after drawing with England, there is no chance of that” said the 45-year-old.
“I would not say we are favourites in this match – we need to play the way we did against England. I don’t think it will be any harder but I know it won’t be easier either. Every team in this group still has a chance of getting through.
Slovakia head coach Jan Kozak believes his side were unlucky to lose against Wales on Saturday but will need to improve on that outing to get a result against a strong Russian side.
“They have improved under Slutski and are very well organised, with good transition from defence to attack,” said the former midfielder.
The Wales defeat was unnecessary and when we reviewed it, we saw that the Welsh made more mistakes; we just couldn’t take our chances. But we did make mistakes and now we have a chance to make amends against Russia.”
Midfielder Denis Glushakov may start for Russia after he came on as a late substitute in the 1-1 draw with England after a calf injury, but back-up goalkeeper Yuri Lodygin looks set to miss the game after he sat out Tuesday’s training with an unspecified knock.
Slovakia coach Kozak is expected to make changes after the defeat to Wales, with 21-year-old Ondrej Duda expected to be named in the starting XI after he came off the bench to score Slovakia’s equaliser on Saturday.
Romania v Switzerland
1700 ~ Parc des Princes, Paris
Romania put up a spirited display in their loss to France on Friday night and manager Anghel Iordanescu knows his side must win in order to keep hopes of a last 16 place alive.
“It’s an extremely important game for us,” said the 66-year-old.
“After the France match, the first problem for our team was physical and mental recuperation. We hope we can be physically prepared for this one. We’re playing against a very good team and we need to do our best to get the win.”
Switzerland may have got an opening victory against Albania but Swiss manager Vladimir Petkovic knows his side must improve to beat an impressive Romania.
“We need to improve on our own below-par performance against Albania,” said the Bosnian.
“I was impressed by the Romania side as a whole on Friday. They were composed, with a clear tactical formation. Now we’ll see if they can match those levels again. If you want to beat them, you have to be at your best.”
Romania gaffer Iordanescu could turn to 22-year-old Steliano Filip to counter the threat of Switzerland at left-back with veteran Razvan Rat’s lack of pace exposed in the defeat to France.
Switzerland are expected to name the same team that beat Albania 1-0 with midfielder Blerim Dzemaili set to win his 50th Switzerland cap in Wednesday’s game.
France v Albania
2000 ~ Stade Vélodrome, Marseille
Hosts France will be looking to make it two wins out of two against Albania and manager Didier Deschamps hopes his side don’t take anything for granted as expectant fans watch on.
There’ll be a great atmosphere, the crowd will be really fired up,” said the 47-year-old.
“Albania are very organised because they have an Italian coach, who has done a great job. They defend well but don’t settle on that – they’re good at breaking forward quickly. They work hard and it’s impressive how much ground they cover.”
Albania put up a gutsy display in their 1-0 defeat to Switzerland and manager Gianni De Biasi wants more of that against France but knows it won’t be an easy test.
“We have worked on trying to find the right balance and want put into action everything we have done in training,” said the Italian
“We’ll try to limit as much as possible some of their play and try to break when we get the chance. Kingsley Coman has really skyrocketed in terms of his ability. N’Golo Kante has been a surprise – he was incredible in the Premier League.”
France head coach Deschamps is expected to stick with the same team that beat Romania 2-1 in their opening match with Olivier Giroud once again expected to lead the hosts’ attack.
Arlind Ajeti or Frederic Veseli will come into the Albanian team for suspended captain Lorik Cana, after he was sent off in their opening game against Switzerland.