Euro 2016: Day 2 Predictions (Albania vs Switzerland, Wales vs Slovakia, England vs Russia)

Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy

The first busy day of Euro 2016 gives us two Group B matches and one from Group A: Switzerland and Albania, England vs Russia and Wales playing Slovakia.

Albania vs Switzerland: The most interesting aspect of this game comes from the national point of view: Nine players on the Albanian team are Swiss citizens. Five of Switzerland’s players are of Albanian descent. Granit Xhaka of Switzerland will play against his brother, Taulant. That’s how thick the web is in this match. But as for what will matter, Switzerland will try to breakdown a disciplined, organized team, making its big stage debut. For that, they’ll need their wings of Ricardo Rodriguez and Stephan Lichtsteiner to be at their best. For Albania, Shkelzen Gashi is where the magic happens, and it can happen from anywhere on the pitch.

Wales vs Slovakia: For both sides, this is a European Championship debut. Gareth Bale is the biggest name on the pitch, but perhaps the winner in the midfield duo of Joe Allen and Joe Ledley facing Marek Hamsik and Juraj Kucka will play a bigger factor in the outcome of this match. Hal Robson-Kanu could be the man who makes the difference for Wales, and if he’s capable of keeping the Slovakian defense busy, it’ll open up opportunities for Bale and Aaron Ramsey. Hamsik’s form determines everything for Slovakia.

England vs Russia: The English fans have captured a lot of headlines over the last two days, getting geared up for the opener. Both sides have problems on defense, but England will mostly look to utilize the age and (lack of) speed on the Russian centre back unit. England will likely be the dominant side, and Roy Hodgson should try and go with the hot hand: Leicester players. The Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane duo up front could provide some fireworks, especially if England don’t stick to traditional, slower, predictable choices behind them.

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