Bet Tip: At least one goal or 0.5 match goals
Bet tip #2: Lose vs England
Bet Tip #3: Scratch from the direct elimination stage
Over/Under: 2.5 team goals
Key Stat: On all games Russia has played there has been at least one goal since 2014.
Once a mighty football super power as the USSR, Russia has been struggling just to make an appearance for the Euro Cup lately. During the previous World Cup of 2014 they were easily eliminated in the group stages. A further look into their history shows Russia plummeted as a football team in 1989 right after the Berlin wall collapsed. Time seems to have healed hounds however, their best performance in a Euro Cup has been the semifinals in 2008, which is a progress. This year they stand as group underdogs and looking at their players and recent stats they will probably won´t make it, but not everything is bad for Russia and their current manager could maybe pull a final 16 qualification as best third.
Here is one of their best games during the 2015 season, when they managed to beat Portugal by one goal at the lat minute:
Euro Cup Qualifying Stage – How did Russia Perform?
Russia’s qualifying games for the Euro can better be described as clumsy. The team can in its worst from the World Cup, Fabio Capello as manager. A look at their game results and the story is really not that bad, a few draws on the first stage, several wins and a loss against Austria. The problem is the level of the rivals Russia pulled a draw against, Moldova and Kazakhstan.
For the second stage, mid 2015, Fabio Capello was sacked for Leonid Slutsky, one of Russia’s best managers straight from CSA Moscow, the country´s top performing club.
|Russia vs Austria
|0 – 1
|Russia vs Azerbaijan
|4 – 0
|Moldova vs Russia
|1 – 1
|Russia vs Belarus
|4 – 2
|Croatia vs Russia
|3 – 1
|Russia vs Hungary
|2 – 1
|Kazakhstan vs Russia
|1 – 1
|Liechtenstein vs Russia
|0 – 4
|Russia vs Liechtenstein
|7 – 0
|Russia vs Moldova
|2 – 1
|Montenegro vs Russia
|0 – 3
|Russia vs Montenegro
|2 – 0
|Austria vs Russia
|1 – 0
|Russia vs Portugal
|1 – 0
|Sweden vs Russia
|1 – 1
Russia Team Stats
Strength – Defense. Russia strongest asset for this Euro Cup will be their strong defense. Reliable, but not as solid or professional as Romania´s.
Both games lost during the qualifying stage were by the minimal difference. Russia did get nailed by Croatia in a friendly by 3 goals, and it was a recent game right after the qualifying stage. Not a game to judge the previous 4 straight wins they had accumulated, which took them to the Euro Cup first in their group. But still it raises an eyebrow on how rock solid the team defense strategy is holding on.
Strong Offense but… Russia has proven to be a goal scorer machine lately with 3, 5 and 7 goals on several games. They eat their rivals alive with a powerful and straightforward attack, but the rival level has 90% to do about that. Liechtenstein, Moldova and Montenegro are teams that never make it to international tournaments.
Their presence in FIFA is mostly a courtesy, so we have to consider that Russia has not been properly tried and this lack of experience could be costly during the Euro Cup in a tough group B with England, Slovakia and Wales.
Bet the Score
– There has been at least 1 goal in every match Russia has played since the end of 2014.
What this tells us is Russia has a defense filled with holes and an offense with bullets. In the worst case scenarios they either win by 1 goal or lose by 1 goal. Draws are scarce and clean sheets inexistent.
Just by watching their Group B opponents we can tell this group will produce a healthy amount of goals. Almost all of the teams are strong scoring and weak in their defense.
Under or Over?
- Over 0.5 match goals, surebet.
So, which bet to take? The over of the under score.
Russia has a strong defense, but we predict it is untried against top level teams. Yes, they managed to defeat Portugal in a friendly, but Portugal has been in a bad shape recently losing against Albania in their qualifiers group.
Russia was also tried against a strong offense team, Sweden, and won by the minimal difference. The most we can get from this is that when matched against strong teams Russia plays defense, and one of the two teams will win by the minimal difference. But matched against very strong teams, Russia could be overturned like against Croatia.
Our decision, just by evaluating the offensive strength of Group B, we suggest to bet the Over score of 0.5 goals.
Euro Cup Group B Match Predictions and Betting Tips
Russia vs England – England Straight Win
- England straight win
- Wayne Rooney scores at least one goal
- England Over 1.5 goals
- Second half Over 0.5 goals
A game Russia will not win or draw either. England comes as favorite not just for their recent stats or player level, but for the pressure the team has to qualify for the next stage, considering Russia is their easiest rival in the group they really need to put some effort in this game.
England will play hard and Russia will have to coward back. If Russia seeks to win then they will expose their defense and lose the game by more than 2 goals.
If Russia pulls back looking for the draw and a chance to qualify as best third, we could see no more than 2 goals in the match by England, or the typical 1 – 0 win by the English.
One early goal by Russia in the first half could create havoc, with England desperately trying to get ahead on the score and exposing even more their own defense, which could end on a probable score of 1 – 2 (England wins), 1 – 3 (England wins) or even 2 – 3 (England wins).
Whatever the score outcome, England wins in our prediction.
Russia vs Wales – over score 2.5
- Pop bet – Both teams to score
- Gareth Bale to score
- No clean sheet
Wales is a team that has limited resources in terms of player base, but what little it has it is top class. Their players act on the Premier League and Scottish League, both very competitive. We expect a leveled game vs Russia, with goal opportunities on both sides. For both teams, this game represents the best chance of a victory in the group stages, so offensive strategies are expected either way.
We will bet the Over 2.5 match goals, expecting a 1 – 2 Wales victory.
Russia vs Slovakia – Slovakia Straight Win
- No clean sheet
- Over 1.5 goals
- Both teams to score
Slovakia has recent history of being a highly offensive team, but that was when they were once Czechoslovakia. With the territorial split so has the team quality diminished. In their Euro Cup qualifiers they have a similar story to Russia, they began winning 6 games in a row, with victories against Spain and Italy. But then softened in second part with just one draw and 4 games lost.
Slovakia seems to be in a very similar situation as Russia, a strong offense but shaky in their overall team strategy. With both Slovakia and Russia we can expect anything to happen, you just don’t know when either team will play remarkably or stumble.
We can predict a score for this game, but will rather bet on an over score with both teams having defense issues and strong attacks. This could be a box to box match with some player aggression, very fun to watch.
 ibtimes.com, Euro 2016 Groups Predictions, 2016