Wales and Russia face off in their final Group B fixture on Monday night.
Wales were seconds away from a hard fought point against England but Daniel Sturridge’s late winner means that Chris Coleman’s side need to better Slovakia’s result against England to go through as runners-up in Group B, unless both Slovakia and Wales win, which would mean England have to settle for third. Russia, meanwhile, were arguably fortunate to pick up their only point of the tournament against in England in a game in which they were very much second best and as result they need to win here to resurrect their campaign and have a chance of qualification.
Indeed, the scoreline against Slovakia also flattered the Russians somewhat as they grabbed a late consolation goal to make it 2-1, but in truth they were outplayed and that defeat was their third in five winless games. Their record against sides that are below them in our rankings but are in the World’s top-75 is W4-D4-L3 since 2014, with each of those defeats coming in the last five of these matches and the Russians have also failed to keep a clean sheet in their last seven. Hodgson’s ultra-attacking substitutions proved too much for Wales to deal with in the second half and that defeat was their fourth in their last six games as they’ve struggled somewhat since qualification.
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However, their record against teams that are ranked above them but are outside the world’s top-25 is W6-D3-L2 since 2013, despite the fact that they only kept four clean sheets and as a result seven had more than two goals.
Both these sides have defensive concerns at the moment, with Wales without a clean sheet in six and Russia without one in five. With that in mind, Over 2.5 looks the best bet in this one, a game which both sides need to win. ‘Overs’ is also strengthened by the trend of the final group games at European Championship tending to be higher-scoring: since 1992 59% of final group games have seen Over 2.5 Goals, compared with just 36% in the first two group matches. In terms of the match odds, Russia certainly look taking on at 2.64 since they’ve been far from impressive at the tournament so far and sides that have picked up just one point from their opening two games have lost half of their 14 final group games at European Championships since 2000. As a result, we’d side with Wales at 2.12 Draw No Bet here.
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