Friendly match: Czech Republic Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Russia
A clash between two EURO 2016 participants, the friendly match the Czech Republic vs. Russia promises to be an interesting and tightly-contested affair. The Czechs began the final stage of their preparations for the European championship with a thumping 6:0 win over Malta but they know the Russians will be much tougher opponents. Kicking off at 6 PM (CET), the friendly fixture between the Czech Republic and Russia will be played at the Tivoli Stadium in Innsbruck, Austria.
The Czech Republic did an excellent job in the EURO 2016 qualifiers, securing the top spot in their group ahead of Iceland, Turkey and the Netherlands (who did not even qualify). Since then, the Czechs have played five friendly games to get ready for the tournament but the results produced in those matches have not been as impressive so far. In November 2015, VrbaÃ‚Â´s men bested Serbia 4:1 but then, they suffered two defeats at the hands of Poland (1:3) and Scotland (0:1). At the end of March, the team were held to a 1:1 draw at Sweden and it was not until their last fixture against Malta when the Czechs claimed a victory again. The Czech Republic asserted their authority throughout the whole game, hammering their Mediterranean rivals 6:0. Apart from the result itself, the teamÃ‚Â´s coach was also happy with the performance by Tomas Rosicky, a key player who was on the sidelines for a year and also the fact that all of his forwards scored a goal in the game. If the Czechs manage to keep up with the performance on Wednesday, they might produce a good result against Russia too.
Russia were through a very turbulent qualifiers. After a series of unconvincing results, the teamÃ‚Â´s head coach Fabio Capello was sacked and replaced with Slutsky amidst the qualifiers. With the new manager at the helm, the team experienced a major improvement in their performance, finishing in the second spot of their group. Since the end of the qualifiers, the Russians have made an appearance in four friendly matches so far. In the first one, they beat Portugal (1:0) but the next game against Croatia resulted in a disappointing home loss (1:3). Then, Russia claimed a comfortable 3:0 win over Lithuania but were beaten by France (2:4) just a few days later. Obviously, Russia have not found their strongest line-up yet as their preparatory performance has been marked by considerable inconsistency. On Wednesday, the Russian side will take on the Czechs who they have quite a good record against. Back at the EURO 1996, the head-to-head match between these two teams ended up in a 3:3 draw but in their last encounter, the Russians destroyed the Czechs 4:1 at the EURO 2012.
After hammering Malta 6:0 in their last warm-up duel, the Czechs are looking to please their fans with another victory. However, beating Russia will certainly not be that easy. With several world-class players in their squad, the Russians are heading into the tournament with high ambitions and they will surely try to win all the remaining preparatory duels to get into the winning mood. To find out who will eventually emerge as the winner or more satisfied team in this attractive fixture, we will have to wait until Wednesday night.
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