May 16, 2016

    Russia have often failed to get past group stage


    RUSSIA will start their Euro 2016 campaign against England in Marseille.

    The two countries have played twice before in Euro qualification for the 2008 finals.

    England won 3-0 at Wembley before 86,000 people on Sept 17, 2007 with Michael Owen scoring twice.

    One month later, Roman Pavlyuchenko scored twice as Russia scored a revenge 2-1 win before 84,700 people at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow.

    They eventually took second place in the group ahead of England.

    England failed to qualify and manager Steve McClaren was sacked.

    Attacking midfielder Al Dzagoev made his debut in a World Cup qualifying game against Germany in 2008 at age 18.

    Coach Guus Hiddink said he had a "killer pass."

    He now has 49 caps and is influential again now that coach Leonid Slutsky is in charge so that number will certainly increase.

    The tournament in France will be modern Russia's fifth European Championship finals since 1996.

    They have got past the group stage only once - in 2008.

    Beaten 4-1 by Spain in their opening group match, Hiddink's side bounced back to beat holders Greece and Sweden to set up a quarter final against the Netherlands.

    They won 3-1 in extra-time and then had to play Spain again.

    They lost 3-0 against a Spanish side establishing a crushing dominance of world football.