Dimitri Payet

The second cycle of matches in Euro 2016 begins, as two matches in Group A (Romania vs Switzerland, France vs Albania) and one from Group B (Russia vs Slovakia) will give us a much better picture of who is going to be in the round of 16.

Russia vs Slovakia: Both teams pretty much must win the three points here, or qualification will be difficult to achieve. Russia aren’t comfortable being the team in possession, while Slovakia have Marek Hamsik and Ondrej Duda for that. This won’t be similar to the England match: Russia will be a bit more open, they have to be. And that’s where Juraj Kucka comes in. Hamsik will get plenty of attention from the Russian midfield and defense. Kucka, who is known for his runs into the penalty box, will need to either bring some attention to himself, or take advantage of the opportunities he’ll surely have.

Romania vs Switzerland: After a pretty good opener that still ended with a loss, it’ll be interesting to see if Romania can switch softwares and be the aggressors. Against 10 men the Swiss didn’t seem like they were in too much of a rush to control the pitch, so now, with three points against a difficult side, they’ll be even more happy to rely on counter attacks. For Switzerland, this is where Xherdan Shaqiri comes in. Romania will rely on the same trio from the previous match, that caused quite a lot of problems for France: Florin Andone, Bogdan Stancu and Nicolae Stanciu, with help from a defensive midfield that will press a bit higher this time.

France vs Albania: France had their problems with Romania in the first match, but maybe without the opening match jitters and already three points in their favour, they’ll look better. Dimitri Payet was fantastic in the opening match, and will face a team that, like Romania, presses high and plays very tightly. This is where Antoine Griezmann, with the support of Patrice Evra (Awful in the first match) and Bacary Sagna comes in. For Albania, playing without Lorik Cana and making other changes in the lineup, it’ll be a very difficult task, and they might be inclined to play for the 0-0 and hope for the best against Romania.

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